Ukraine pays public servants ridiculously paltry salaries
Whoever takes over from Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius, who resigned on Feb. 3, won’t be doing it for the money. The minister earned just Hr 5,542 ($209) in February, according to a report appearing on Ukrainian news website Ukrainska Pravda on March 14. Most of it (Hr 4,524, or $170) was vacation pay.
The minister’s full salary is likely closer to the Hr 10,210 ($385) he was paid in January. Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, another foreign-born technocratic minister in the government, was paid Hr 11,240 ($440) in January, according to Ukrainska Pravda.
With even less money on offer for lower-level government posts, attracting honest and qualified staff is a job in itself for Ukrainian ministries, agencies, and state enterprises. While these bodies say they publish vacancies on their websites, there is not much there to encourage job seekers: The Agriculture Ministry’s vacancies section is blank; there are two jobs open on the Justice Ministry’s website; and the Defense Ministry’s website has eight vacancies, with monthly salaries ranging from Hr 2,360 ($89) to Hr 4,376 ($165). The Economy Ministry lists several jobs with detailed descriptions, but no salary information.
Moreover, people seeking a job in government will be required to go through a competitive selection process after the new civil service law comes into force in May, and in fact, many government agencies have already instituted a competitive hiring
system. New strategies The low wages for senior positions, combined with low public awareness of government job openings, has led several agencies to adopt new strategies for attracting employees.
State defense enterprise Ukroboronprom, which oversees 99 manufacturing companies, says it publishes all vacancies for positions as head of its enterprises on its website. In addition, Ukroboronprom has created a staffing reserve database, to which job seekers can submit their resume so that they can be contacted.
As with some other government agencies, Ukroboronprom has adopted a competitive hiring system ahead of the new civil service law coming into force, its director Roman Romanov says. “We announce on the website when a chief’s contract expires at a plant, so please – come and take part in the competition,” he says on Ukroboronprom’s electronic job application form.
According to Romanov, Ukroboronprom has hired 15 directors for its enterprises under the new system, and 13 of them have managed to make their plants profitable. “My primary interest is in your productivity – to place the best manager in the position,” Romanov said on Feb. 11.
Outsourced recruiting While state enterprises like Ukroboronprom may offer candidates higher wages and less paperwork, government bodies have a harder sell. To cast their net wider for potential job candidates, some ministries and state agencies are putsourcing their recruiting.
Iryna Brytska, a research specialist at Headhunter (hh. ua), a leading Ukrainian job website, said her organization is happy to cooperate with government. “We gladly placed their vacancies for free last year, so helping to attract employees to their positions,” she said. Headhunter also has an agreement this year with the State Employment Service to place its vacancies on the hh.ua website free of charge.
The ministries came to Headhunter with the request to list vacancies, Brytska said. For ordinary clients, the website would usually charge Hr 120 per vacancy. Headhunter also offers its database of resumes for Hr 45,000. Those who buy it can then post vacancies free of charge.
So far, the website features only one position in a ministry – chief of staff at the Agriculture Ministry. There is no High demand Nevertheless, Brytska said that interest in jobs in the state sector is high, especially for posts such as head of department or head of a directorate. One vacancy attracted 500 responses. “At the moment (the state sector) is quite prestigious and promising,” Brytska said, a change in attitude since the Euromaidan Revolution toppled the former government two years ago.
Brytska doesn’t see low salaries at state enterprises as an obstacle for employers. “Many hope that investment will come here. They’re quite willing to go to the state sector, because they expect stability,” she said.
Also, a group of Ukrainian alumni of Western universities has launched the Professional Government Initiative to help authorities match educated Ukrainians with government bodies in need of professionals.
Since March 2014, the initiative has brought 32 civil servants to various ministries and state enterprises. To