On March 1, 2023, Russia is enacting a law allowing adolescents aged 14-18 to get jobs without the consent of the child protection services.
The new legislation will make it easier for teenagers to find a job because the relevant authority’s consent will not be required; the permission from one of the parents will suffice.
The change will also lower the administrative burden on employers, although not significantly. Companies will not have to pay for adolescents’ medical examinations; also, they won’t need approval from the state labor inspectorate or the commission on minors’ affairs for termination of their employment contract. The basic rules for the employment of adolescents will remain unchanged: their work should not cause harm to their health, and they should be able to combine work and study. Certain types of occupation will remain prohibited for this category of workers.
And yet, this is definitely a new trend, and it is already changing the Russian employment landscape.
According to the State Duma Committee on Youth Policy, more than 500K people under 18 find employment in Russia every year.
The demand for such workers has been growing across the country since late 2022. According to hh.ru, 360K adolescents were invited for interviews in October 2022, or 30% more than in October 2021. As many as 55% of employers said they considered job applicants aged 14-17.
Moscow and the Moscow Region have seen the fastest growth of the number of job openings for 14+ workers (18% of the total published vacancies). There was also an increase in demand for such applicants in the Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Novgorod, and Irkutsk regions.
A growing shortage of personnel
The legislative changes will benefit all parties to the labor market. Teenagers will gain financial independence, will learn the basics of financial literacy and responsibility for their decisions. And most importantly, their early involvement in a certain industry or profession will solve a major problem – help them choose a potential career or occupation. It’s no secret that many high-school graduates have no idea what they want to do. So employment is also an important opportunity for a teenager to make an early and conscious career choice.
There is another reason why employers became interested in workers who are ready to start a career this early. The labor market is struggling with a serious shortage of personnel after the increase in the age of conscription, the partial mobilization, and the outflow of men of conscription age. So companies began to fill the gaps with younger workers wherever doing the job did not require any specific qualifications or narrow skills.
The market segments with noticeable demand for teenage workers have expanded markedly over the past year. Previously, teenagers were mainly employed as posters, delivery persons, waiters and promoters. Now you can find a lot of job openings for them in IT, sales, the mass media, SMM, PR, and in hospitality industries.
The employers’ economic benefits are also obvious. Workers aged 14-18 can be paid less, and their recruitment is cheaper compared with experienced specialists. Training such employees for the business’s needs is also faster and cheaper in most cases.
Companies have appreciated the opportunity, and are taking advantage of the new labor market trends to build up their human resources and achieve sustainable development. Giving a teenager the opportunities for self-development and career growth, they count on that teenager’s loyalty in the future. Diversity & Inclusion is a new trend that is increasingly gaining ground in Russia. It refers to gender and age agendas in business. While adopting ESG, investors consider every aspect of this agenda, D&I included. Russian companies are increasingly eyeing the parts of workforce they had been reluctant to use, such as teenagers and 50+ candidates.
The growth in the number of jobs for the 14+ age group will strongly depend on the general economic situation in Russia.
The problem is that hiring and adapting a minor will remain a challenge for companies for a long time. Adolescents cannot be hired for just any job. It will take some effort to develop requirements for the quality of their work or service, given their obvious lack of professional skills and competencies.
Most likely, the register of restricted occupations may have to be updated, as many of the restrictions have long lost their relevance. The modern world is changing fast, so this register will be updated, and probably revised again soon enough, to incorporate the updated labor market demands and the interests of adolescents.
By Yekaterina Ponomaryova, HR Director, Finbridge Fintech Group