Stepan Zemtsov, Senior Researcher, Innovation Economic Department of the Gaidar Institute, spoke at the open workshop “Risks and opportunities of digital economy: how regions can adapt?”
Workshop took place on October 30 at RANEPA. Vera Barinova, Head of Innovation Economic Department, moderated this event.
Digital economy, implementation of national projects may lead to release of a high number of employees and these processes have different intensity in the regions. Participants discussed regions where risks are higher, how to adapt opportunities provided by digital economy, what is the role of STEAM and entrepreneurship, which spheres and professions need to be developed and which factors contribute to regional adaptation.

Concluding, Stepan Zemtsov noticed that scenario of employment digital transformation included in national projects will require reeducation and retraining of millions of employees: first of all, it is necessary to teach STEAM and entrepreneurship.

Stepan Zemtsov said: “Social risks of digital economy are currently low as the following restrictions are significant in Russia: underemployment, cheap workforce, poor introduction of technologies (4 promotional robots per 10 000 citizens while there are 85 all over the world), institutional issues. However, it may result in the accelerated modernization in future”.

Speaker also highlighted risk of ignorance economy when a significant part of employees will not be able to use new technologies, undergo ongoing reeducation, compete with robots. There are about 80% of employees currently involved in the routine activity, they are not prepared to work in technologically sophisticated markets which may result in establishment of old industrial and old service regions and cities.

Stepan Zemtsov was confident that institutions and cultural norms restrict opportunities to adapt at the expense of entrepreneurship. Speaker concluded: “However, unemployment will not be high, it will not be registered by Rosstat as the concept of work is changing: precarization , self-employment, freelance, reduction of working hours, etc. Strategies of adaptation towards digital economy are required”.