The jobs market in Ukraine has remained relatively stable despite a fall in GDP of almost 30% following the Russian invasion of the country in February 2022.
Researchers from the Universities of York and Birmingham analysed more than 5.4 million job listings to provide a real-time picture of fluctuations in employment opportunities in Ukraine – and for Ukrainians in Poland – since the escalation of the conflict.
The researchers hope that their model could provide useful information to help Ukraine rebuild its economy once the fighting is over, in the absence of official employment statistics during the war.
The data used in the study was sourced from the Jooble Ukraine job search website (ua.jooble.org), looking at job listings posted up to one year prior to the Russian invasion and eight months after. Jooble mainly shows vacancies in certain sectors, including IT, engineering, manufacturing and the service industry, but not the public sector.
The researchers used the data to analyse vacancies based in Ukraine and those based in Poland – which prior to the Russian invasion, would be targeting economic migrants, then refugees in the subsequent months.
They found that, while the number of jobs advertised in Ukraine remained stable, the majority were in the Western part of the country, furthest from the actual combat. They also found that after February 2022, the demand for soft and analytical skills rose in Ukraine, but wages dropped for posts at all levels.
Dr Tho Pham from the University of York explained: “Although you’d expect vacancies to all but dry up during times of conflict, our study has shown that isn’t the case. However, job adverts don’t mean new jobs are being created, simply that a role needs to be filled, such as if the previous worker was called up for armed service or the company has relocated further from the front line.”
In Poland, the number of vacancies targeting Ukrainians rose following the Russian invasion, with the largest increase in medium and high-skilled roles, as well as jobs targeting female applicants. However, wages for these positions fell. Compared to pre-war economic migrants, Ukrainian refugees are now being offered more lower-paid jobs, or lower wages for similar jobs.
Co-researcher Professor Oleksandr Talavera, from the University of Birmingham said: “While online vacancies don’t give the whole picture, they can give us an idea about the state of the economy, such as the shifts in the demand for skills and the impact of increased supply on wages. One advantage of online data is that it’s constantly updated, and so our findings can be continually updated as well.”
Dr Pham added: “Analysing online adverts could compensate for the lack of official statistics in the labour market in Ukraine, helping to understand the shifts in demand for different skills. We hope that the technique we have developed and the data it provides could be valuable when Ukraine eventually comes to rebuild its economy after the war has ended.”
The study, Labor Markets during War Time: Evidence from Online Job Ads is published in the Journal of comparative economics https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147596723000550