Why Ukraine has such low wages?Ukraine’s wages are now on the level of US $200-300 per month. It is about half of average employee’s income in Russia, for example.

Reason 1: Economic crisis and the follow-up inflation

Economic crisis in the country and political instability caused inflation and drop in exchange rates against major currencies (US dollar, Euro) in 2014-2016.

  • Ukrainian currency, hryvnia, dropped from 8 hryvnia per 1 US dollar in 2014 to 25 hryvnia per 1 US dollar in 2016.
  • Earlier this year the exchange rate even jumped to 28 hryvnia per 1 USD.

While the exchange rate kept creeping up, salaries in Ukraine were unable to match the curve. Economics estimate it might take several years for average wages to reach the level of about $500 per month, which was achieved in 2014.

Exchange rates Ukrainian hryvnia to USD

Historical exchange rates: USD to Ukrainian hryvnia, August 2011 to August 2016. The worst drop occurred at the end of 2014.

Reason 2: “Grey” wages

The second reason for the low level of officially reported earnings is the fact that the majority of Ukrainians get so called “grey” wages, where part of their remuneration is paid in cash on top of the official salary or they are working without any income being officially recorded for tax purposes.

Economic crisis in Ukraine pushed owners of smaller companies to the brink of collapse. To save on taxes and social contributions, it’s more advantageous to employers to pay remuneration to employees in cash. Taxes and contributions that employers have to pay are linked to the size of pay.

The workers also benefit from “grey” wages by paying lower taxes.

Experts estimate the size of the “shadow” economy as 40% of Ukrainian GDP.

Reason 2: "Grey" wages

Even regular workers benefit from “grey” salaries.

Reason 3: Giant differences between regions

Currently the highest wages people receive in the city of Kiev. Salaries in the Kiev region, which include the city for the purposes of calculating averages, are already much lower.

Salaries in regional towns are the lowest because of slow economic activity. People spend a lot of time to grow their own crops that they use as food the whole year round.

Thus, the average salaries for the whole of Ukraine are rather low.

Reason 3: Giant differences between regions

The highest remuneration people receive in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.


Average salaries, wages in Ukraine, 2016.Read also:

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Because they are very intelligent people and chose very intelligent and honest -no corrupt at all- politicians?


I don’t think that in Ukraine too low wages. Not in all regions the difficult economic situation. Of course, it still depends on where you work, profession, status in society. For example, the government is not low wages)) So very controversial opinion


According to my experiences doing business in both countries, Russians have a different mentality and work ethic compared to Ukrainian people, and maybe it’s no accident why Ukraine has so many problems with their economy at large while Russia has experienced economic growth since the breakup of the Soviet Union.


Ukrainian currency dropped three times compared with the US dollar? Hard to live! How much in USD is an average two bedroom apartment in Kiev now? How many years of average salaries are requested?