On May 23, Stepan Zemtsov, Senior Researcher of the Gaidar Institute, took part in the round table discussion of the RAS Institute of Economics “Future of employment: Russian agenda”.
The expert presented his research “Digital economy and structural changes in the employment of Russia”. According to speaker, digital economy provides risks of automation of a great number of working positions. His presentation included results of the experiment: what will happen with labor market in Russia if automation is implemented instantaneously.

The following mass professions are the most automated in Russia: drivers, sales persons, porters, etc.  Economic activities, such as hotel industry, restaurant business, processing industry, agriculture and trade are most subjective to automation. They include high proportion of routine functions done by workers. Potentially, about 44% of all working positions can be automated in Russia on the average. This will require to invent measures on adaptation to digital economy, i.e. re-education of specialists, support of creative industries, growth of the share of people engaged in small and medium-sized businesses.  

Structure of employment is changing in Russia towards less routine activities with the increase of share of various science intensive services, i.e. internet services, information technologies, medical services, etc. however, share of those employed in the entrepreneurial sector is still low compared to other countries. Insufficient entrepreneurial activity restricts opportunities for implementation of new technologies while migrant labor is still cheaper than robots.

According to Stepan Zemtsov, a gap between exponential growth of automation and lagging processes of re-education and job placement may occur in future. Labor market may not adapt in time to new conditions. Expert concluded: There is a risk of “ignorance economy” as part of households which are not prepared to participate in the processes of creation and implementation of new technologies and products will not be prepared to compete with robots and undergo constant re-education.