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Russia — Ex-patriots stay on in spite of the economic crisis

17 September 2009

Although a massive number of foreign workers in Russia have lost their jobs due to the economic crisis, the majority of them are in no hurry to return home and have decided to stay on and see what happens, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Nick Reese, Director at the Moscow-based Star Search recruitment agency said "in the first six months of 2009 companies have laid off 70% of the foreign workforce (but) they want to wait out the crisis and return to work."

Christian Lepolyar, Partner at recruitment agency Antal Russia said "this is a tough situation. We receive an enormous amount of resumes — from one to two a week — from people wanting to come to Russia, or those who are already here. We have not hired a single person in a year, whereas before we used to hire five or six candidates a year — mainly to top-managerial posts."

The main reason for the massive layoffs of foreign professionals in Russia is that they became too costly in the harsh conditions of the economic crisis. According to HSBC Bank, 30% of ex-patriots in Russia earn $250,000 per annum or more. On top of that there are chauffeurs, a car for the spouse, child care, work permit registration costs, rent and education for the children, etc.

Top-level Russian managers are typically paid no more than $120,000 per annum. Steven Newman, Director of the Q1 Project Management company in Moscow said, "Russians are now on the same level as ex-pats in high-level positions. Meanwhile, it is cheaper to have a Russian manager."

Natalia Kurantova, Sales Director at Kelly Services Moscow said, "Russians better understand the Russian market during a crisis, adapt faster and offer interesting anti-crisis solutions whereas the ex-pats are used to working in normal, civilised business conditions."
Christian Lepolyar comments on ex-patriot workers, "they see more possibilities here. In
Europe, companies are reducing their staff and freezing projects: it will take two to three years for the market to recover. I believe that, in Russia, the market will recover faster and next year the economy will begin to rise. Russia is, or at least was prior to the crisis, a good country to work in. Many of my friends wish to stay here to work. You’ll be surprised, but they got accustomed to Russia’s mentality — they like it here!"



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