HAVANA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- An aging population and brain drain of professionals to the better-paid private sector are affecting some state-run enterprises in Cuba.
"I used to earn 550 Cuban pesos (CUPs, 22 U.S. dollars) a month. Now I make at least 250 Convertible Pesos (CUCs, 250 dollars) at the same time," Frank, a 27-year-old engineer who only wanted to be known by his first name and left his job at a state-run company to join a new cooperative making metallic structures, told Xinhua.
Each CUC is worth 25 CUPs. The average salary of a college graduate working at a state-owned company is about 500 CUPs a month, far from enough to keep pace with the rising living costs, especially in the capital Havana.
Jorge Cuevas Ramos, member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), also warned of the impact of these trends at the closing of the First National Conference of the Transportation Workers Union.
The party official said the lack of specialists, technicians and operators was undermining the quality of work and ability to meet deadlines in the transportation sector, including airports.
According to the National Statistics Bureau (NSB), 3,201,000 people worked in state-run entities in 2013, while 1,717,800 workers were employed in non-state-managed activities (including agricultural cooperatives).
By 2016, 2,881,500 workers were employed by state companies, and 1,881,100 people were in the private sector, including agricultural and non-agricultural cooperatives, a decline of 319,500 workers in three years for the public sector, while the private sector grew by 163,300 people in the same period.
An aging population is another factor that is affecting Cuba, not just the state-run enterprises.
During his speech to transportation workers, Cuevas urged Cubans to prepare the human resources needed in the immediate, short and medium terms.
In Cuba, 19.8 percent of the population of 11.2 million people is over 60, as reported last August by the NSB.
The proportion of elderly is growing due to low birth rates, youth migrating abroad and increased life expectancy.
Meanwhile, population growth has remained at zero since 2014, according to NSB data released three months ago.
The National Demography Research Center has forecast that by 2030, Cubans aged 60 or more will reach 25 percent of the population, representing a serious economic and social burden on the island's government and health system.
The government has already taken several steps to address the issue, including offering families incentives for having children, delaying the age of retirement to 65, expanding geriatric health services, and building more nursing homes.