KYIV – The Ukraine office of Manpower Group immediately felt the impact of the lifting of visa requirements for Ukrainians to visit most EU countries.
“Right after visas stopped, we saw online applications go down,” Oleksii Kiriachkov, head of recruitment development for Manpower Ukraine, said of the June 11 visa lifting. “It’s logical. People don’t have to come to us and get labor visa and find an employer.”
“They don’t have to cooperate with us – they just buy a ticket, go to Poland and find an employer,” Kiriachkov said in an interview in Manpower’s office on Volodymyrska Street.
Adjusting strategies, Manpower now recruits more through magazines and provincial newspapers, targeting a layer of Ukrainians who lack internet skills and biometric passports.
“Work in Poland,” “Work in Hungary,” “Work in Czech” beckon billboard ads raised this summer by competing job agencies across Ukraine. In June, to compete with EU farm salaries, at least three major Ukrainian agro holdings raised their base salaries to keep skilled workers.
“In Kyiv, salaries are increasing day by day,” said Kiriachkov. “In March, we hired a receptionist at 6,000 hryvnia a month. Now, we are looking for a second – at 8,000.”
From talking to Kiriachkov, it is clear that Ukrainians are favored guest workers for Eastern Europe’s growing economies. The leader, Poland, has 1.3 million Ukrainian workers – and is adjusting its legislation to bring in more.
Labor migration keeps Ukraine’s official unemployment rate at 10 percent and eases pressure on the government to adopt an effective court system, a change that would attract foreign investment.
“We are in the process of hiring 1,000 blue collars for Estonia – factory and warehouse workers – 200 for Poland and 300 for Czech,” he said of mandates he had received from the Tallinn, Warsaw and Prague offices of Manpower, a US-based multinational with offices in 82 countries.
Before the Schengen visa liberalization, it was easy to fill mandates.
“For Czech, our colleagues in Prague told us in January they needed 300 people in two months,” Kiriachkov recalled. “We got 500 online applications. By mid-March, all the people were hired.”
In a good indicator for Ukraine, Manpower’s recruitment is up – for work here and in the EU This year, Kiriachkov says, his office revenues are up 15 percent. In the last year, his workforce increased by 50 percent, to 15 employees.
“Each day, we get two to three incoming calls for searches,” said Kiriachkov, whose company also provides human resources services for firms here. “Last year, it was much less – one to two requests a week.”
Betting that Ukraine’s economy is back on a growth track, he is putting out his own job appeal: “We are hiring business development director in charge of searching for new clients.”
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