SberIndex: labor market rebounding as employers hire workers for less money

Sep 21, 2020

SberIndex lab has analyzed the Russian labor market in August and is sure that it keeps rebounding as the economy gets back to normal. The findings are available in a new tracker on

The fall in the overall gross payrolls in August, according to SberIndex, reached 1.1% as compared to the trend seen in early 2020. This is a major improvement compared to the trough of –7.6% in May, but the pandemic still affects industries.

According to Sberbank data, gross payrolls in August grew 4.2% y-o-y, which is 0.6 pp above the inflation and way slower than the pre-pandemic growth nearing 10%. SberIndex analysts believe that the labor market is reviving due to workers being hired for lower wages. Paycheck size differs from the trend much more, as compared to gross payrolls in general, standing at –4.5% in August.

Minor payroll losses are still maintained across the Hotels and Food Services category (–12.3% compared to the trend seen in early 2020) and the Transportation and Storage category (–8.6%). Healthcare is at the opposite end of the payroll spectrum. In August, payrolls of doctors added 13.7% compared to the trend. It’s also the only labor market segment where SberIndex analysts are seeing salaries grow over the entire pandemic.

According to the analysts, three regions of Russia saw payroll dynamics being revived to pre-covid levels: Arkhangelsk Region (+1.5%), Penza Region (+1.2%), and Mordovia Republic (+1.1%). Three more regions saw a decline under 1%. Two-digit fall was registered in Astrakhan Region (–19.9%) and Adygea Republic (–13.5%). Find more in our tracker.

When publishing the materials, a reference to SberIndex ( is mandatory. is an analytical website by Sberbank that illustrates how life in Russia has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, you can find three key indexes on the website, all of them based on anonymized data. These are an incidence model, the consumer activity index, and consumer activity changes. The all-new Business section features the evolution of gross payroll and change in small business activity. The website also has other studies, including all SberIndex lab ones (former SberData).