Sergey Tsukhlo, Head of Business Surveys Department of the Gaidar Institute, provided to RBC the results of the enterprises’ survey showing a record “staff shortage” in the industry. Businesses are concerned about staff attrition amid partial mobilization.
The assessment of staff adequacy by enterprises has fallen to its lowest level since 1996 according to a survey by the Gaidar Institute, which showed decline to -28 p.p. in October 2022. This is the lowest indicator during the entire observation history since April 1996. According to the Department, a record “staff shortage” in the industry was observed amid staff attrition caused by both conscription as part of partial mobilization and evasion from it. The previous anti-record was observed in January 2022 (-24 p.p.). At that time, businesses worried about shortage of staff in the wake of a booming post-COVID economy and optimistic output plans, the January survey said.

According to the author of the study, staff shortages are observed following an "overhang of overcapacity." The indicator of the staff adequacy and of the production capacities is estimated every three months.

The Industrial Optimism Index is monitored monthly by the IEP Business Surveys Department. The value of the composite index has also fallen significantly in October (from 11.4 p.p. in September to 0.4 p.p.), however, still did not go into the red. "In the watershed March 2022, the industrial optimism index has also been nullified, and the worst value for the current year (-3.8 p.p.) was shown in July," the study said. Previously, the index was in the negative in May 2020, when anti-COVID lockdowns were in effect.

In October, three out of four indicators used to calculate the index of professional optimism demonstrated decline. They included: sales expectations, satisfaction with sales volumes and companies' output plans. The sharpest fall was demonstrated by the sales change estimate: it dropped by 25 p.p. to -29.2 p.p., and was the worst for all 8 months since the start of the special operation. Such demand dynamics naturally caused a decline in satisfaction with sales volumes, thus, the share of normal sales estimates fell to 55% in October from 66% in September, the survey noted. 

The events of the recent weeks had no effect on the 4th indicator, that is, the estimates of finished goods inventories. "For the fourth month in a row, the balance of this indicator is between -1 and +1, showing that companies firmly control their stockpiles," Sergey Tsukhlo said in a survey.