Expats in Russia caught up in early contract terminations

Published:  2 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: China, India, UAE, Euro
Expats working on contract in Russia are being discriminated against by having their contracts cancelled early and being replaced by workers from central and eastern Europe.

Recruiting firms in Russia are reporting increasing instances of Western expat professionals having their contracts terminated early and being replaced by either Russian workers or expats from eastern and central Europe. Although uniquely-skilled foreign workers are still much in demand, it’s cheaper for cash-strapped companies to hire Russians and northern European expats.

Russia’s continuing economic crisis has much to do with the displacement of Western expats, as their higher wage levels may well be causing problems, but the cultural element in hiring professionals from post-socialist countries seems to be the major factor. It’s not just Russian firms who are shedding their Western experts, with Siemens already switching from using foreign expertise to hiring Russian nationals.

Worst affected are the consumer goods, pharmaceutical and hospitality sectors, with the length of stay per contract becoming shorter. Russian factories using Western equipment are still employing higher numbers of foreign workers but are shortening contract times from a year to a maximum of six months.

Falling wage packets for contracted expats are also causing problems, leaving many Western professionals with no option but to move on to positions in alternative emerging markets such as the UAE, China and India. According to local recruitment companies, there’s still no shortage of expats wanting to work in Russia, but applicants are having to get used to the new developments, however much they affect job security.

Other recruiters believe foreign experts are now working on equal terms to those offered to Russian nationals, with their salaries now not pegged to foreign currencies. Many hope the labour market in Russia has achieved wage equilibrium, as it’s more productive for companies struggling to maintain profits at a difficult time. Salaries, they say, depend not on nationality, but on results.
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