The shortage of personnel in Russia is a fundamental problem of the labor market: forecasts and solutions

The shortage of personnel is one of the fundamental problems of the labor market in 2024. It is difficult for employers to look for candidates, and the problem is especially acute in the field of production and trade. This decline in the labor market is due to various reasons: demography, geopolitical situation, as well as the lack of competent candidates.

Grigory Sysoev / RIA Novosti

Industries where the shortage of personnel is most acute

Now the hotel and restaurant sector is particularly suffering. There are not enough competent employees in the fields of grocery production, HoReCa, and the clothing industry. There is also a shortage of personnel in retail, cleaning, and construction sites. In these areas, there is a real personnel shortage, which forces employers to switch to the services of labor migrants.

According to statistics from the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences for 2023, the personnel deficit in Russia amounted to almost 5 million people. Even in conditions when the market has a stable high supply of labor, there is still a shortage of personnel. More than 90% of companies reported that they are experiencing difficulties in finding candidates for hiring.

Reasons for staff shortages

Among the main reasons for the shortage of personnel are the events of recent years, as well as the rapid growth of ecosystem companies. This led to the redistribution of blue-collar flows, including labor migrants.

A foreign citizen, coming to work in the Russian Federation, is counting on legal work with the possibility of earning about $1000 (more precisely, the equivalent of this amount in its native currency). However, in the current conditions in the Russian Federation, only a small proportion of companies with a growing economy can offer such conditions – they drag a significant number of blue-collar and labor migrants, pulling them away from those who cannot adapt and offer market-appropriate conditions.

At the same time, there is no significant outflow of linear personnel on the Migrant Service platform. There is only a traditional seasonal decline in supply in the labor market, otherwise the supply is stable in any conditions. This means that the problem is different, and companies should rethink the cost of using linear personnel and offer conditions that will be acceptable in the current realities.

Today there is a situation when demand greatly exceeds supply in the labor market. There are 10 job offers per 1 migrant! Labor migrants began to make higher demands on the employer, primarily regarding wages. Let’s take a closer look at the graph of minimum wages in different industries between January and December 2023.

It is observed that during the year the wages of foreign citizens almost doubled in positions: handyman, packer, loader. And the wages of employees of courier services, cleaning services, as well as bakeries increased by about 30%.

Other factors that affect the choice of work by a migrant in addition to wages are feedback about the employer, the provision of housing and food, payment of a patent, and the execution of an employment contract.

The Migrant Service platform conducted a survey among its users to identify factors affecting the choice of job applicants. More than 2.5 thousand people took part in the survey. According to the results, it turned out that the most important criterion is still high wages (71%), and one of the most important factors was also:

  • Execution of the employment contract (49%);
  • Housing, food and patent payment by the employer (46%);
  • Verified employer (44%).

Slightly less significant were: the possibility of career growth (30%), interesting work (26%) and convenient location (24%).

Prospects for the development of the personnel market: what can lead to a decrease in the shortage of personnel?

Currently, a record low unemployment is recorded in the Russian Federation, which indicates the lack of free personnel in the labor market and a shortage of personnel for companies.

The labor market has still remained a full-fledged “candidate market,” and this trend will continue.

In booming industries such as foodtech, last-mile logistics, manufacturing, retail, cleaning, construction, HoReCa, apparel and agriculture, things will get worse.

Where to take personnel? Solving the problem at the global level

To solve the problem with the shortage of personnel, it is important to revise the recruitment system itself. It is recommended to test various methods of attracting candidates, introduce new technologies, including accessing digital services; with their help it will be possible to reduce significantly the cost of attracting applicants.

When closing mass specialties, it is important to take into account that labor migrants do not respond to the usual channels of attraction. When selecting a matching service, consider the supplier’s experience with this segment.

Private business tips: looking for employees with increased care

Thus, employers can conclude that in order to attract workers successfully, in addition to competitive wages, it is important to provide the employee with a high-quality labor contract, all the necessary permits, as well as create comfortable living conditions.

Employers placing their vacancies on platforms for the search and recruitment of linear personnel receive much more responses if, together with work, they provide accommodation (housing), food, adaptation in the Russian Federation.

It is important to monitor the timely payment of labor patents by employees in order to avoid penalties. According to our surveys, employers who organize centralized payment of a patent by employees retain them 1.5-2 times longer.


The shortage of personnel remains an urgent problem in the labor market for 2024. However, the root of this problem is often not the lack of supply in the market, but the incorrectly chosen approach to finding employees.

It is important to identify the tasks the employer meets, to revise the proposed working conditions. As well as to provide potential applicants with conditions that will meet their needs in modern realities.

By Andrey Kladov, Executive Director of the Migrant Service application, expert on migration agenda and hiring

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