Infographics: Economy and real average salary in Belarus 2020
The Republic of Belarus is located practically in the very center of Europe. The country is famous for its cleanliness and tranquility on the streets, which visiting tourists often talk about. Although according to the Global Peace Index, it is ranked 91st out of 153 countries. Many people think that the country makes money only on tractors and oil refining, but this is not entirely true.
- The purchasing power parity (PPP) among residents of the country, according to data for 2018, is $ 20,003. Their neighbors: Ukraine ($ 9,283), Poland ($ 31,939), Lithuania ($ 34,826), Latvia ($ 29,901), Estonia ($ 34,096).
- On average across the country, employers are willing to pay 829 Belarusian rubles ($ 328).
- Belarus's GDP in 2018 amounted to $ 59,662 billion. The country's economy is expected to grow by 1.9% this year.
- Belarus is in the Top 30 countries in terms of economic complexity, its economy is quite diversified. According to forecasts, in the next 7 years, it may rise even higher in this rating.
Belarus is an upper-middle-income country and ranks 70th in terms of per capita income out of 191 countries studied. The country is currently home to about 9 475 million people. The country's GDP in 2018 amounted to $ 59.662 billion. Residents have a GDP per capita of about $ 20,003, according to the latest available data for 2018. The growth of GDP per capita on average over the past five years amounted to -0.3%, which is below the average for the region.
According to the IMF, the gross public debt of the Republic of Belarus is 52.7% of its GDP. The leader in this indicator is Japan - 237.6%.
Belarus is in the Top 30 countries in terms of economic complexity, being in 29th place in the rating (ECI). To try to understand the huge level of data on how countries make money, a team at the Harvard Laboratory created a ranking of the same name. It shows how diverse a country's exports are and how diversified its economy is. Simply put, if a country earns only on potatoes and oil, then its economic complexity will be relatively small because if difficulties arise in one of these two sectors of the economy, the country's position will be very fragile. On the other hand, if a country does not have some 1-2 significantly dominant industries and its economy is more diverse, it will be much easier to experience difficult moments.
Belarusian exports for 2017 amounted to $ 36.2 billion.
Belarus is more difficult than many people think in terms of income. As a result, its economy is forecast to grow moderately. Growth forecasts for Harvard Laboratory for 2027 call for growth in Belarus by 4.5% annually over the next decade, which will allow it to rise even higher in the world rankings.
The 3 main export destinations of the country: Russia (41.30%), Ukraine (11.54%), Great Britain (8.40%).
The 3 main countries in terms of imports: Russia (57.84%), Germany (6.03%), Poland (5.35%).
The developing IT sector is feeding the country with foreign dollars. Belarus, in a way, is becoming China, which locates on its territory the factories and enterprises of world companies, in return producing products at much lower costs. So more and more Western companies are turning to Belarus to develop the necessary software.
Russia + Oil and Gas + Union State
Belarus earns about $ 2 billion a year from the re-export of some Russian oil and oil products that it receives from its processing. Minsk receives other subsidies and loans from Moscow.
But as Russia gradually changes the taxation of its oil industry, this directly affects Belarus' budget revenues: in November, the Belarusian finance ministry estimated this year's budget deficit at $ 850 million due to tax revisions in Moscow.
Belarus is also a small oil producer, shipping about 100,000 tons of oil per month to Germany. Minsk stopped its oil exports in January as it needs to feed its refineries.
Overall, the Belarusian economy is expected to grow 1.9% this year, with the central bank holding $ 9.4 billion in foreign exchange reserves, including 42.2 tons of gold at the start of this year, according to Reuters.
A senior Kremlin official said Russia and Belarus will continue negotiations on oil supplies after their leaders' meeting last Friday failed to resolve their differences.
The flow of Russian oil to Belarus fell to a minimum since January 1, after the two countries failed to agree on the terms of supplies for 2020. Oil export through Belarus to Europe has remained stable so far.
Russia will supply natural gas to Belarus this year under the same conditions as in 2019.
The oil scandal comes amid a broader dispute over an agreement on the integration of the economies and political systems of the two countries, signed back in 1999 by the Belarusian president and his Russian counterpart.
Moscow continued to push the plan, but since then Minsk has resisted the idea of closer ties with Russia, fearing a complete takeover by the Kremlin.
Dmitry Kozak, head of the Russian presidential administration, said last Friday that the Russian government will facilitate negotiations between Russian oil companies and their Belarusian counterparts.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit this month did nothing to address Belarus' main problem - its dependence on Russia for reduced natural gas and oil supplies - but was “symbolically very important for the President of the Republic, as a sign of Western support to keep Belarus an independent state.
However, it is worth clarifying that the visit of the Secretary of State to Belarus was not the endpoint of the route; in a couple of days, the official also visited Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and several other former Soviet republics.
During his visit to Minsk, Pompeo insisted that Washington was not trying to force Belarus to join the West instead of Russia. “This is not about choosing between the two of us,” he said.
But the president of Belarus, backed by a visit by a top US official, is showing an increasingly aggressive approach to Moscow, increasingly expressing his dissatisfaction with their policies.
Given the example of Ukraine in retaliation for turning to the West in 2014, few in Belarus are willing to risk a break with Russia.
But Russia's growing wariness is also on the rise, with a recent poll showing support for the so-called union state plummeted from 60.4 percent to 40.4 percent last year, according to the New York Times.
How much do Belarusians get
According to experts-economists, the actual unemployment rate in the country may be around 5-8%.
The highest salaries are generally in the mining, information technology, financial services, and passenger air transport industries.
Belarusians are not averse to leaving to work in the nearest countries: Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, or Russia.
And here is how much employers are on average willing to pay in the country according to our data:
- Brest (829.54 rubles) and Brest region (753.19 rubles)
- Grodno (831.87 rubles) and Grodno region (799, 08 rubles)
- Vitebsk (864.85 rubles) and Vitebsk region (786.82 rubles)
- Mogilev (814.36 rubles) and Mogilev region (767.27 rubles)
- Gomel (876.49 rubles) and the Gomel region (676.81 rubles)
- Minsk (1063, 99 rubles) and Minsk region (886.77 rubles)
- On average across the country, employers are willing to pay 829 Belarusian rubles ($ 328).
Several vacancies with the lowest monthly salary:
Specialist nurse - 250 rubles
Territory cleaner (janitor) - 300 rubles
Insurance agent - 300 rubles
Egg collector - 375 rubles
From January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Belarus has been set at 375 rubles. As you can see from our research, at least a few employers have not reached the minimum bar. However, the manager has the right to look for an employee for a position where the salary will be less than the established minimum, but every month he is obliged to calculate the established minimum wage, replenishing the missing amount with various bonuses, and allowances.
In the outback, things are not in the best way, some people working on farms are paid a salary of 220 rubles a month, which is less than $ 100.
Please note that you should trust only the official data of the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Belstat). So, according to their data, the nominal accrued average monthly wage in Belarus in December 2019 amounted to 1,239 rubles (491 dollars), in Minsk 1,734 rubles (687 dollars).
Employers in Belarus pay almost half of their salary for an employee:
- FSZN (Social Security Fund) 35% [1% lies directly with the employee]
- Compulsory insurance 0.5%
- Income tax 13%
How our study was conducted
To delve deeper into the salaries of Belarusians and find out what the real salary is in the country at the moment, we turned to local job search sites. In our research, information was taken from the job search site Jobs.tut.by and the Belmeta.by the aggregator, which publishes vacancies from all well-known job search sites in Belarus.
In many cases, employers will immediately indicate the approximate salary for the job seeker. However, sometimes one of the additional conditions appears: from and to [amount], two of these conditions are also encountered at once. For our study, we selected vacancies with an indication of the exact salary and marked "from", the study did not include vacancies marked "to", since it is not known what salary the applicant will have at the start.
Also in our sample were vacancies with an indication of both salary conditions "from" and "to". We took the average of this number. That is, if the job description says from 800 to 1200 rubles, we attributed to this vacancy a salary of 1000 Belarusian rubles, stopping at the golden mean.
We made a separate sample for each region and its administrative center. The report includes 6 regions and 6 administrative centers (cities) of the same name. For each region and city, we selected 100 vacancies at random, in which the salary was indicated. The exception was the capital - Minsk, for which we increased the sample to 200 vacancies.
For the study, vacancies were selected from 28 professional fields, everything that was presented on job search sites. All vacancies have been configured with the same search parameters:
- For the last month
- Work experience doesn't matter
The study did not include vacancies for law enforcement agencies, officials, and extremely rare professions, which are most often not published on job search sites.
For the assessment of one subject, we did not include any profession more than 5 times. If, when evaluating the vacancy "Sales assistant", it was included in our sample 5 times, all subsequent appearances in the list were ignored.
The data was collected for January 2020, you can find more details here.
What can a resident of Minsk afford an average salary?
The average salary in the city of Minsk is 1,064 rubles ($ 421). We decided to calculate how you can spend this money in one month? (according to internal calculations)
- Renting a one-room apartment in the city will take 566 rubles ($ 224) from your wallet on average.
- Utilities for one person in an apartment about 41 rubles.
- Not the fastest Internet + mobile communications - 44 rubles.
- Travelcard for 2 types of transport (metro + ground) - 42 rubles.
- Food - 230 rubles.
- The rest (entertainment, medicine, sports, clothing, and other expenses) - 141 rubles.
As you can see, with the Minsk average salary, renting an apartment alone, you can afford not so much, because most of the money is spent on rent. Therefore, in Minsk, as in the rest of the world, there is a widespread tendency to rent an apartment with someone to save money on housing costs.
Overall, the Belarusian economy remains stable, but a strong link with Russia and volatile oil prices could make it much more dependent on external factors.