Introduction:

Thank  you Mr. Chair,

Dr. Kim, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues 

I would like to start with expressing deep gratitude to Viet Nam hosting this 6th Human Resource Development Ministerial Meeting. I’m glad to welcome honorable Ministers and delegates of APEC economies as our presence guarantees that we will have fruitful discussions resulted in the Ministerial Declaration 2014 reflecting new approaches and recommendations to meet common challenges faced by APEC economies and throughout the world. 

So, nowadays global economy continues to face a range of challenges. Despite highly accommodative monetary policy, economic growth has not fully recovered following the global financial crisis. Labour and employment policies can help to achieve job-rich, strong, sustainable and balanced growth by improving productivity, addressing difficulties to better job creation, reducing barriers to participation and improving matching in the labour market.

When focusing at these core vectors of our labour and employment policies we need to address a number of very important related issues and I would like to speak on three of them:

  • Better labour market policies and pension reform to reflect aging population process.
  • Enhancing the role of women in the workforce.
  • Policies for other vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities migrants both international and local unskilled workers long term unemployed and so on.

Better labour market policies and pension reform to reflect aging population process

Population aging is the result of increasing life expectancy and falling fertility rates. While this process differs in pace and sequencing among regions and economies, it is a worldwide phenomenon.

Russia takes special measures on federal and regional levels to protect health of population, extend working life of old-age people, reduce sick rate and mortality, increase life expectancy. They are implemented within the framework of the national projects "Health" and "Education", as well as the state target programs.

Despite the relatively low life expectancy the group of old-age workers is an important resource for our labour market but it requires special support.

Thus, a legal framework is established, not only providing the opportunity, but also stimulating the participation of older persons in the labour market.

The labour legislation of Russia does not permit any direct or indirect restriction of employment rights depending on age (upper age limit for employment - 65 years is settled only for certain categories of workers – civil servants, municipal servants, military, judges and prosecutors).

The pension legislation of Russia protects the right of working pensioners to receive a salary as well as pension in full.

Employed and unemployed individuals approaching retirement age are eligible for professional training and retraining, psychological support and social adaptation in labour market, as well as temporary employment.  Special job search web-site is also available.

This results in a stabile increase of old-age workers number in labour market in Russia nowadays (appr. 20%  of  total working population).    

Enhancing the role of women in the workforce

Russia manages to keep high economic activity level due to the large women’s participation in labour market.

Russia affirms the call of APEC Leaders declared last year in Bali to « ... expand women’s participation in the economy by creating an enabling environment, such as through  ICT training support, as well as the development of entrepreneurial culture, equal access to quality education and employment opportunities and greater access to market and financial services including capital, particularly for women-owned SMEs (small and medium enterprises)» . 

Historically, in Russia women can’t be considered as a group underrepresented at the labour market. Women’s labour force participation rate is 47.77% compared with the average economic activity level of  51.95%.

70% of small and medium enterprises (SME) including IT, pharmaceutical, bio-medical technology sectors are headed by women. It is the evidence of effective implementation of state programs on enlarging women involvement in labour market.

Russia undertakes measures to support women’s return to the labour market after giving birth to their children (under the age of 3). Special support programs submit opportunity to reconcile family and work responsibilities, re-training possibilities, increase of quantity and quality of childcare services provided to families and spread the flexible working arrangements.

It results in a stabile increase of women’s labour force participation. In 2013 the economic activity level of women of reproductive age (20-49) without children was 92.5% and with children was 81,2%. The economic activity level for women after retirement age was 30.36% while for men 27,7%.

Policies for other vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, long term unemployed and so on.

For Russia serious issue is to support employment of people with disabilities.

In Russia as of January 1, 2014 there are 12.7 million persons with disabilities        (18.9% are employed and 14.7% above retirement age).

Russia takes measures to support people with disabilities include: the creation of an accessible infrastructure (such as public infrastructure, and workplace adjustment), providing them with access to educational services and quality job search services, focusing this support on the individual needs of a person with disabilities, organization of individual support at the work place and etc.

In 2012 Russia implemented the state program «Free barrier (available) environment» aimed at creation of free barrier access to everyday life needs and social services. It presupposes inclusive education, employment for the disabled as well as increasing of disability pension rate. The program has 5 years of duration and 4.8 bln US dollar budget. 

In accordance with the labour legislation of Russia there is a special quote for the recruitment of the disabled, a mechanism of supervision and control of its implementation and administrative sanctions for failure of quota realization.

In 2013 federal budget allocated 21.5 mln USD for creation of 14.2 thousand equipped workplaces and promotion of disabled person employment.

In order  to make the process of adaptation in the workplace more easygoing, contribute to their further professional development as well as master new practical skills there is an experience of mentor (assistance) securing for the employed disabled.

Russian legislation pays particular attention to other vulnerable groups such as long-term unemployed, youth, migrants and etc.

In 2013 Russia started the state program «Enhancing population employment» till 2020 aimed at employment fostering, increasing labour mobility, decreasing regional labour market tension, developing social support system for the unemployed and improving mechanisms of foreign labour force use.

Both external and internal migration contribute to development for example by mitigating demographic imbalances in countries with aging population, decreasing unemployment and poverty in countries of migrants origin, or mitigating structural economic imbalances between different regions within a country. At the same time the inflows and outflows of migrants create economic, social and cultural challenges both for the countries of their origin and destination countries such as a mismatch between available skills and jobs, fiscal burden on destination country governments (especially local governments), exploitation of migrant workers, integration of migrants in destination countries, or reintegration of migrants returning to their countries of origin.

According to the UN data Russia hosts the second largest number of migrants (about 11 mln) in the world after the USA.

Russian Government developed a new migration policy concept that pays special attention to internal migration.

To improve labour mobility Russia has implemented a Project aimed at supplying  regions, lacking labour force, with qualified workforce, as well as providing large investment projects with workforce.

Enhancing labour mobility regional programs are co-financed by the Russian Government in the form of financial support to employers through compensating part of the costs for attraction of workers from other regions of Russia (travel costs, living expenses, resettlement benefits, training and retraining costs, expenses on children education) at the rate on 6.8 thousand USD per person.

Such measures prove the great importance of role of the Government in ensuring involvement of vulnerable groups into labour market.

Conclusions:

To sum up – the development of human resources is essential for any economy and when taking actions every economy defines its specific priorities and ways to address them. At the same time there are common challenges such as population aging or protection of vulnerable groups and coordination of such actions which are very important and should permanently be under the special attention.

With the APEC cooperation we are hopeful that our economies will all reap the gains of inclusive growth that benefits our most valued resource - our people.

Thank you for your attention!