How has the war affected the top management and owners of companies in Ukraine?

October 2023
There is more loyalty to the employer, but job satisfaction has decreased

What changes have occurred in the work of company executives and how satisfied are they with their jobs now? Has the full-scale war added turbulence to the relationship between top management and business owners in Ukraine?" analysts at Gradus Research in partnership with the Upscaling Coaching Agency have investigated by comparing the results of the October 2023 survey with a similar pre-war survey conducted in July 2021.

So, what does the situation look like now?

The level of loyalty to the employer among top managers was high before the war and remains high now.

The majority of surveyed managers are proud to be a part of their company (81% now, 84% before the war) and realize their value to the company (81% of respondents now, 80% before the war).

More than three quarters of the surveyed managers (77%) do not plan to change their jobs (before the war, this figure was 69%). And two-thirds of respondents (65%) are satisfied with their area of responsibility (61% before the war).

No plans to change jobs.png

The overwhelming majority of respondents (88%) actively use their strong skills (80% before the war). And 81% of respondents believe that their opinions are taken into account when making important decisions (before the war - 76%).

Satisfaction with work and conditions has declined. This may be due to actual conditions, as well as the general context and high stress.

43% of managers consider their remuneration to be inadequate (before the war, less than a third of respondents thought so - 31%).

Most top managers are proud to be part of their company.png

At the same time, the work-life balance has deteriorated, with 65% of managers unable to maintain it (57% of respondents reported this problem before the war).

Work-Life Balance has decreased.png

Owners and top managers began to work more closely and in a coordinated manner.

Most of the surveyed top managers (83%) understand what is expected of them in their companies (before the war, this figure was 72%).

57% of top managers are satisfied with their interaction/communication with owners, and this figure has increased significantly, as it was only 39% before the war.

Increased satisfaction with interaction with the business owner.png

Half of the surveyed managers (50%) are satisfied with the quantity and quality of feedback from their owners (before the war, less than a third were - 31%).

71% of surveyed managers are satisfied with the level of their authority and freedom of action. Here, too, we note a significant increase - this figure has grown by one and a half times during the war.

62% of the surveyed top managers believe that the war has increased the effectiveness of interaction between management and owners. 50% of managers rate the level of trust in management decisions on the part of the owner as high. And 68% of managers feel strong support from the owners.

Revision of strategy and functions within the company.

78% of the surveyed top managers say that the company's strategy has been revised. 42% of managers state that the owner's participation in operational management has increased.

The war prompted a review of functions within the company.png

"Before the full-scale invasion, the corporate culture in Ukraine was going through a period of active development. Companies created boards and advisory councils, owners transferred management, created processes and functions, and adopted the best international practices. At the same time, an active labor market encouraged top managers to defend themselves and sometimes look at opportunities to change jobs. With the onset of full-scale aggression, the market swung in the opposite direction. Owners began to play a more active role in operational management, and in some cases took it over completely. This is a double advantage: significant cost savings on the most expensive part of the team and full control over their own business during the war," says Evgeniya Bliznyuk, sociologist, founder and director of Gradus Research.

The war has created a double crisis in the labor market: the number of skilled workers has decreased due to migration, on the one hand, and the number of top positions available on the market has decreased, on the other. These problems are shared by 74% of the surveyed managers.

74% TOP MANAGERS believe that the war has exacerbated the shortage of highly qualified personnel.png

"We can confirm the hypothesis that Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has provoked a return of owners to more active participation in the operational management of their businesses. However, this is mostly constructive and is perceived by top management as support rather than an obstacle. It seems that during this crisis period, staff turnover will stop, as neither side is ready to change the "horses in the race". Nevertheless, owners should pay attention to the level of satisfaction with the conditions, as a drop in this indicator carries a potential risk," comments Evgeniya Bliznyuk, sociologist, founder and director of Gradus Research.

Thus, the results of the survey demonstrate an interesting trend: in the face of challenges bordering on business survival, company owners and top managers have begun to work more often as a team. Top managers prefer greater involvement of owners in strategic issues and see it as a support rather than a disadvantage. And despite the fact that satisfaction with working conditions has declined and the work-life balance has shifted significantly in favor of work, top managers are not eager to change their jobs.

The full report is available upon request in the form below.

The survey was conducted by Gradus Research using a self-administered online questionnaire. Target audience: top managers of large and medium-sized businesses operating in Ukraine. The first wave of the study was conducted in July 2021 (102 effective interviews), and the second wave was conducted in October 2023 (113 effective interviews).

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