Top 5 causes of labor migration from Ukraine

13/ 06/ 2019

Almost half of the participants of the survey Happiness Barometer of Ukraine are satisfied with their current job – 44%, although 51% consider their income as insufficient for essentials.

This is shown by the results of the express study that the European Business Association conducts for the second year in a row. This year, the index rate of the Barometer was 2.61 points out of 5 possible according to the Likert scale (+0.14 points compared to previous year).

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Thus, respondents are split on the health care system assessment: 58% of respondents are not satisfied with the state of the health care, while 42% evaluated it as satisfactory or good. Almost 52% are satisfied with the system of education, with 48% saying that they are completely or partially dissatisfied with it.

72% of respondents are not satisfied with the state of security in the country and feel uncertain about their own future, and 62% consider human rights observance to be poor, in particular, in terms of discrimination and the level of democratic freedoms.

Higher points:

3,32 points – current job

3,24 points – leisure / social life

2,90 points – general life experience

2,55 points – education system

Lower points:

2,51 points – income level

2,39 points – health care system

2,39 points – human rights

2,20 points – ecology

2,11 points – security & safety

Anna Derevyanko Executive Director of the European Business Association
For the second time the EBA conducted its own research of the level of happiness of Ukrainians, and for the second time the result of the Index appears to be in a negative zone. Our data is also confirmed by international reports, for instance, according to the World Happiness Report, Ukraine ranks 133th out of 156 countries, and hence, it is among the thirty most hapless countries in the world. These are powerful signals that the country needs complex structural changes and reforms.

«The basic needs of citizens – personal and financial security – should be provided. Therefore, first, it is necessary to create conditions for economic growth, to continue reforms in education and health care. We see the increase of certain components of the index, which inspires cautious optimism, and we must do everything to keep this trend preserved».

More Ukrainians are traveling abroad looking for a happier life. According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, with the beginning of the war in the East in 2014 about 1,3 million Ukrainians migrated to other countries. As a result, now our country faces the tangible problem of labour migration as well as local businesses feel affected by the lack of professionals in the corporate and industrial sectors.

In order to overcome this negative trend, coordinated actions of the authorities, business, civil society, and international institutions are needed. The state authorities are expected to increase the minimum wage (along with improving the legislation in terms of salary taxation), increase the level of security (effective police and army), improve the legal environment and justice in Ukraine, continue health care reform, and pay attention to environmental problems.

At the same time, business can stimulate staff by raising salaries, switching to “white” salaries, introducing health insurance and other social guarantees, ensuring safe and comfortable working conditions and employees’ opportunities for development and non-formal learning.

Oleg Bakhmatyuk СЕО of Ukrlandfarming PLC
In the agrarian sector, the consequences of the growing scale of labour migration are particularly noticeable. We feel a shortage of technical professionals - drivers, combine drivers, mechanics, agronomists - who have a specialized education and are easily adaptable to the environment of neighboring countries, for example, Poland.

«As a business, we invest a lot of our own resources to create comfortable working conditions and development for our employees, but there are certainly many problems that make people move abroad, that can only be addressed at the state level. And within the country we see a powerful migration trend from rural areas to big cities. We hope that the reform of decentralization will be continued and aimed at the balanced development of all regions in order to ensure higher rates of economic growth and rehabilitation of social infrastructure in order to create attractive conditions for living and working in Ukraine».  

The survey results were presented during the special event of the EBA “Labour migration: A challenge for Ukraine”, during which we discussed reasons and possible solutions of this problem together with our member-company Ukrlandfarming PLC, which supported our initiative. We were happy to welcome speakers of the event – Maxym Nefedov, First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine; Oleksandr Zhemoyda, Director General of the Directorate for Strategic Planning and European Integration, Minagropolicy; Oleg Bakhmatyuk, СЕО of Ukrlandfarming PLC and Anna Derevyanko, EBA Executive Director.  

For your information:

Happiness Barometer is a regular survey conducted by the European Business Association since 2018.

In 2019, we asked 1118 respondents (Internet audience) about their vision of life in Ukraine. Online questionnaire was sent to EBA member-companies via e-mail, in addition, we asked our Facebook followers to take part in the survey.

Kyiv – 80% of respondents. Age: 26 – 40 years old – 65% of respondents. Audience: office workers of all levels – over 58% of respondents.

Key factors:

  • Income level
  • Current job
  • Health care system
  • Education system
  • Leisure / social life
  • Security & safety
  • Human rights
  • Ecology
  • General life experience

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