Employment of the Rural Population: The Basis for Sustainable
Development of the Regions of Kazakhstan
Tatyana S. Sokira
, Zhanat Zh. Belgibayeva
and Almazhan M. Dzhulaeva
Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Keywords: Rural Population, Employment, Unemployment, Labor Market, Income, Indicator.
Abstract: The article considers the problems of employment of the rural population, identifies trends in the labor market.
Based on the data of the Committee on Statistics of the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of
Kazakhstan, the indicators of employment and unemployment of the rural population were analyzed and
systematized. The factors, influencing the level of employment in rural areas, are identified and the need for
the development of alternative types of employment, diversification of the agriculture-based economy,
innovative transformations in rural area in order to improve the well-being and quality of life of the rural
population are justified. The use of artificial intelligence, the emergence of "smart greenhouses", "smart
farms" have a dual impact on the rural labor market. On the one hand, innovative technologies will contribute
to an increase of labor efficiency, automation and mechanization of production processes, and an increase in
farmers' earnings. On the other hand, the introduction and use of innovative technologies require competitive
qualified personnel.
Employment is not only the most important economic
category, but also one of the main indicators of the
labor market. Indicator - the level of employment
characterizes not only the degree of involvement of
the labor force in the production process, job security,
but also the social status of the employee.
Unemployed people do not have a steady source of
income, do not achieve their potential and experience
stress about this.
Insurance of productive employment, reduction of
unemployment, regulation of the labor market,
assistance to socially vulnerable groups of the
population are among the list of problems, requiring
concerted efforts from the state, entrepreneurs and
society as a whole.
As noted by the leader of the nation N.A.
Nazarbayev in his speech "Social modernization of
Kazakhstan: Twenty steps to the Society of Universal
Labor" all the values of world civilization, all
economic and cultural wealth are created by human
labor. The state is not an endless donor, but a partner,
that creates conditions for the growth of the well-
being of citizens. An alternative to the ideology of
consumption should be the idea of creating a Society
of Universal Labor (Nazarbayev, 2012).
Kazakhstan determined the main priorities of
social modernization, aimed at creating an effective
system for obtaining professional skills and
qualifications in demand in the labor market,
developing mass entrepreneurship, creating an
effective model of employment agency services, and
adopted the state program for the development of
productive employment and mass entrepreneurship
"Enbek" for 2017-2021 (State Program, 2018).
Problems of insurance of productive employment are
central to state economic policy and are of polemical
character. Employment affects all aspects of a
person's life, determines the level of his income and
Sokira, T., Belgibayeva, Z. and Dzhulaeva, A.
Employment of the Rural Population: The Basis for Sustainable Development of the Regions of Kazakhstan.
DOI: 10.5220/0010590303390344
In Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure (ISSDRI 2021), pages 339-344
ISBN: 978-989-758-519-7
2021 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
quality of life. Mass unemployment, low salaries
destabilize the situation in society, cause conflicts and
negatively affect the satisfaction with the daily living
needs of the population. The subject of our study is
the employment of the population in rural areas,
which is especially need for scientific research.
As a methodological basis for research, the
dialectical method was used, which studies the
processes of employment in continuous development,
taking into account qualitative and quantitative
changes, and causation. The main indicators of the
labor market in different periods of time were studied
using the historical method. The levels of
employment and unemployment among the urban and
rural population were studied using the economic and
statistical method. The method of system analysis
allowed to consider economic phenomena in mutual
connection, identify factors of influence and justify
the prospects for insuring productive employment of
the rural population of Kazakhstan.
Each state, depending on its capabilities, availability
of resources, taking into account the mentality of the
population and established traditions, solves the
problem of employment. There is a clear interrelation
between the level of employment and the level of
economic development of a country. Poor countries
have limited employment and good income
With the administrative-planned economy, every
citizen of the country was provided with social
guarantees in the form of employment, stable salary,
and measures were taken to combat mooching. At that
time, in the agricultural sector, there was a need to
attract additional labor, which allowed to perform the
entire volume of agricultural seasonal work on time.
An extremely difficult situation developed in the
CIS countries during the transition period, especially
in rural areas. Low incomes, mainly hand manual
work, insufficient level of housing improvements,
lack of attractive vacancies, underdevelopment of the
rural labor market, caused an intensive outflow of the
rural population, which negatively affected
employment and the distribution of labor force
(Bondarenko and Tatarova, 2019; Maksumhanova et
al., 2020). It was necessary to reorganize to market
principles of activity, to take into account the ratio of
labor demand and labor supply.
Employment in agriculture declined at a faster
rate, than in the economy as a whole (Nefedova,
2019). There was an overflow of labor and capital
from agriculture to other spheres of economic
activity. Along with various forms of full, productive,
precarious, seasonal employment, unemployed
persons and self-employed workers appeared.
Table 1: Index of employment of the urban and rural population of Kazakhstan, thousand people.
Indicators 1991 2000 2005 2010 2015 2019
Urban population
Employed population 4876.6 3792.0 4077.9 4240.4 4858.5 5132.1
Employees 4669.2 2541.8 3192.8 3443.7 4069.0 4312.4
Self-employed workers 207.4 1250.2 885.1 796.7 789.5 819.7
Unemployed population - 530.8 402.7 282.3 260.0 258.8
Rural population
Employed population 2839.6 2409.0 3183.1 3873.8 3574.9 3648.8
Employees 2720.3 962.6 1447.7 1965.7 2225.9 2369.2
Self-employed workers 119.3 1446.4 1735.4 1908.1 1349.0 1279.6
Unemployed population - 375.6 238.1 214.2 194.2 181.9
Note: compiled on the basis of data from the source (Employment in Kazakhstan, 2020)
So, in 2000, the number of unemployed people
already amounted to 906.4 thousand people,
including among the urban population - 530.8
thousand people and among the rural population,
375.6 thousand people, respectively. The number of
self-employed persons increased sharply. In 2019, the
analyzed indicators were as follows: the number of
labor force in Kazakhstan was 9221.5 thousand
ISSDRI 2021 - International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure
people, the number of employed population was
8780.8 thousand people, the number of employees
was 6681.6 thousand people, the number of self-
employed workers was 2099.2 thousand people and
the number of unemployed was 440.7 thousand
Since 2000, there has been a clear trend towards
an increase in the number of self-employed people
among the rural population. In 2010, this indicator
was 1908.1 thousand people. This state of matters can
be explained by the fact, that large enterprises in the
agricultural sector stopped to function and former
workers of state farms, collective farms were forced
to shift their efforts to personal subsidiary plots, make
products on their subsidiary plot and sell them on the
local market.
It should be noted, that in 2019 the share of self-
employed workers among the urban population was
15.9%; among the rural population - 35.1%. The
unemployment rate in 2019 compared to 2000
decreased 2.7 times, which is explained by measures,
taken at the state level to stabilize the socio-economic
situation in the country, the development of small and
medium-sized businesses, and the activation of
entrepreneurial activity.
Since the main producers of agricultural products
during the transition to the market were agricultural
enterprises, individual entrepreneurs and peasant or
farm holdings, as well as households, the structure of
employment of the rural population have been
changing during the analyzed period, which is due to
the role of the category of holdings in ensuring food
Meanwhile, during the transition period, due to
aggravated problems, in some areas, there was a
degradation of villages. The level of employment
signals material well-being, the opportunity of
ensuring a good lifestyle. To develop a set of
measures to improve the socio-economic situation in
rural areas, a detailed analysis of the factors
influencing the current trend in the labor market of
rural residents is required (Postnova et al., 2020).
Rural areas significantly differ in their location,
level of development, demographic and social
conditions. For this reason, it is necessary to analyze
their strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and
threats, develop a strategy and tactics for
development, take into account trends in employment
and formation of sources of income (Bryden and
Bollman, 2000).
To solve actual problems in rural areas, an
integrated approach is recommended, that provides
for an increase in employment and incomes of the
population through the development of alternative
forms of employment, diversification of the
economy, improvement of rural areas, and the
introduction of innovations (Khanmagomedov,
In recent years, much attention has been paid in
Kazakhstan to agricultural, medical, and coastal
tourism. The urban population shows interest in
resting in the countryside, rents premises, goes on
gastronomic and entertainment tours. During the
pandemic, the demand for medicinal products made
from mare's milk increased. There was an opportunity
to come to the farm and take a health-improving
treatment. Among the entertainment services,
horseback riding, hunting, fishing, folk crafts, and
national cuisine are popular (Tikhonova and Shik,
During the summer season, the flow of tourists,
who want to improve their health and recuperate on
the unique lakes Alakol, Balkhash, the Caspian Sea,
and other water reservoirs is growing every year,
which makes it possible for rural residents to
diversify their sources of income. In a pandemic,
Kazakhstanis preferred to rest at home. Moreover, the
entrepreneurs were well prepared for the beach
season, observed all the prescribed sanitary norms
and rules, and offered catering and accommodation
services in facilities of various comfort levels.
The services of pantotherapy, treatment with
honey products are in constant demand in the East
Kazakhstan region, bordering the Altai Territory of
the Russian Federation, ecological and ethnographic
types of tourism are being developed.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan adopted state programs
of the development of the tourism industry for 2019-
2025, the development of the agro-industrial complex
for 2017-2021, which will enhance the development
of rural areas, create new job sites, diversify the
agricultural economy, reduce migration flows from
the village to the city, improve the well-being of the
rural population (State Program.2019-2025; State
Program 2017-2021).
The state program should be considered as an
important strategic planning document, in which,
based on an analysis of the current situation, problems
are identified, goals and tasks, measures of state
support are formulated, priorities and directions are
justified, bodies, responsible for the development and
implementation, sources and amounts of funding are
But the remoteness of rural settlements from
cities, insufficiently high quality of the Internet, weak
marketing and advertising campaigns, and a shortage
of qualified personnel slow down the process of the
implementation of the set goals and tasks.
Employment of the Rural Population: The Basis for Sustainable Development of the Regions of Kazakhstan
Thus, when characterizing the labor force by the
level of education in urban and rural areas, significant
differences are observed. If the national average share
of people with higher education in 2019 was 37.36%,
then the value of this indicator among the rural
population is 1.9 times lower, than among the urban
population. On the contrary, among the rural
population the share of the labor force with a
secondary general education is 4.3 times higher than
among the urban population. Thus, it can be
concluded, that there is a shortage of highly qualified
personnel among the rural population.
Table 2: Allocation of Kazakhstan's labor force by education level in 2019, in percentage.
Education level All population Urban population Rural population
Labor force - total 100.0 100.0 100.0
Higher 37.36 46.48 24.53
Incomplete higher 1.33 1.62 0.92
Secondary professional (vocational) 42.19 41.75 42.82
Basic vocational 4.50 3.96 5.26
Secondary general 13.68 5.78 24.79
Basic general 0.88 0.37 1.59
Primary general 0.06 0.04 0.09
Note: calculated on the basis of data from the source (Employment in Kazakhstan, 2020)
There is a close relation between education level
and employment. With an increase in the education
level, the share of the employed population is
increased and the share of economically inactive
persons is decreased (Agranovich, 2019). The
education level of a person gives him certain
competitive advantages.
As a result of the research, it was revealed, that
the education level among the urban population is
higher than among the rural population. This fact can
be explained by the lag of the village behind the city
in terms of the development of intellectual abilities,
cultural and social living conditions, the level of
mechanization, and automation of labor.
To deepen scientific research in order to identify
the relation between the level of education and
employment of the rural population, the following
groups were distinguished by the education level:
Group I - primary general education; Group II - basic
general education; Group III - secondary general
education; Group IV - Basic vocational education;
Group V - secondary professional (vocational)
education; Group VI - incomplete higher education;
Group VII - higher education.
Table 3: Relation between education level and employment of the rural population of Kazakhstan, 2019.
Groups by the education level I II III IV V VI VII
Labor force, thousand
le 3.5 60.9 949.6 201.5 1640.2 35.3 939.7
Unemployed population,
thousand people
0.4 4.0 50.5 9.1 74.5 2.2 41.1
ulation, thousand
le 3.1 56.9 899.2 192.4 1565.7 33.0 898.5
Allocation of the employed population by education
groups, %
0.09 1.56 24.64 5.27 42.91 0.91 24.62
Allocation of the unemployed population by education
s, %
0.22 2.20 27.78 5.00 40.98 1.21 22.61
The ratio of the employed to the labor
force, %
88.57 93.43 94.69 95.48 95.46 93.48 95.62
Note: calculated on the basis of data from the source (Employment in Kazakhstan, 2020)
ISSDRI 2021 - International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure
As the data in Table 3 show, 42.91% of the
employed rural population have secondary
professional (vocational) education; 24.64% -
secondary general education; 24.62% - higher
education. Among the unemployed population, the
largest share of 40.98% falls on the group of persons
with secondary professional (vocational) education,
on the group of persons with secondary general
education - 27.78%; on the group of persons with
higher education - 22.61%; on the group of persons
with basic vocational education - 5.0%.
In terms of the level of employment, calculated as
the ratio of the number of employed to the number of
labor force for each education group, there is an
interrelation between the education level and the
employment level. The highest value of the indicator,
95.62%, is observed in the group with higher
education, the smallest, 88.57%, in the group with
primary general education.
Since digital technologies and artificial
intelligence are actively used in fields and farms,
“smart greenhouses” have appeared, resource-saving
technologies are being introduced, and labor
requirements in rural areas have been increased
sharply. On the other hand, thanks to innovative
technologies, it is possible to ensure a breakthrough,
economic growth and an increase in labor
productivity in agricultural enterprises, and, as a
consequence, an improvement in the quality of life of
the population.
Innovative technologies will allow to solve the
problems of the village, that have accumulated over
the years, in the shortest possible time. The nature of
labor will change, from hard, predominantly hand, it
will become automated, mechanized. Due to a
decrease in labor intensity, an increase in
profitability, the agricultural sector will turn into a
more attractive object for investment.
Natural and climatic conditions, availability of
agricultural land, traditions and customs of the
people, historically established specialization and
division of labor give grounds to consider agriculture
as a driver of sustainable development of the country.
Currently, the rural population of the country has
realized, that it is economically profitable to run an
agribusiness. Food is vital goods for every person. In
a pandemic, restrictive measures were not imposed on
the activities of agricultural enterprises. On the
contrary, food demand and prices have risen.
If we take into account the potential for
diversification of the agricultural economy, then there
are free-market niches, which, with proper business
management, can bring a sizeable income.
In connection with the digitalization of the economy,
representatives of agricultural professions are in
demand in the labor market, but who already have
additional competencies in the field of computer
literacy, processing large amounts of statistical data,
robotics, innovative equipment, and products.
And from this we can conclude, that the
employment of the rural population in the future will
be influenced by professional aptitude,
competitiveness, innovativeness, knowing digital
technologies. Therefore, currently the most important
task is to bring the labor demand and labor supply in
compliance, to increase the competitiveness of the
domestic labor force, to prepare them for functioning
in a new technological order.
Diversification of the economy, development of
alternative forms of employment will create
additional job sites, improve the quality of life of the
population in rural areas, reduce unemployment,
ensure the preservation and development of rural
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