(From the archives, updated May 2011).
Ukraine offers a skilled, low-wage labor pool which placed it in the top five most attractive outsourcing host countries in 2006 and into 2007. This was and continues to be the case, especially for the Information Technology industry.
The average monthly wage of Ukrainians ranges in the area of $200-250 per month. In the suburbs and remote urban areas, salaries can drop well below $100 a month. This average does not consider incomes associated with an extensive “gray market” – ranging from gypsy taxi drivers to small road side markets, sales of pirated software and music, etc.
I’ve heard of computer technicians working for less than $250 monthly, and that including over time in addition to 40 hour work weeks. Obviously, a lot depends upon the company – and in this many western firms do pay more.
Fluent English-Russian translators range widely depending upon the nature of their work. Highly technical translators are hard to come by and are in the $20+ an hour range. What you might find through some marriage agencies will likely be in the $8 to $15 an hour range, less if they are translating letters.
Salaries in the larger cities are significantly higher than rural areas, as might be expected. The disparity, however, is substantially greater than one might expect. A nurse or shop assistant in an outlying town might make $100 a month. Pensioners (retirees) may only make $90 – $150 per month.
Many expats come to Ukraine with the idea of teaching English. The current employment, job and economic scene is not as favorable for this now as it was pre-2007. As a private tutor, it is still possible to find students for $5 – 15 an hour depending upon city and how aggressively one works to build up their clients. Teachers in Ukraine’s schools and universities tend to be on the low end of the pay spectrum.
Unemployment is high throughout Ukraine, but exact figures are hard to come by. “Official figures” for 2010 run in the 9% range, but that is at best a guess and an extremely optimistic one, unless we count shadow economy jobs.
Kyiv is a different story. It is the capitol and largest city in Ukraine and most international business tends to center there. Consequently wages are considerably higher across the board. Costs of living are also dramatically higher, too.