On May 13, 2021, within the framework of the round table “The Effect of Digital Technologies on Economic Dynamics” sponsored by the Institute for National Economic Forecasts, RAS, Stepan Zemtsov, Senior Researcher of the Innovation-Driven Economy Department, Gaidar Institute, spoke about robotization, digitalization and labor markets in Russian regions.

One of the key issues of the economic management section is the correlation between the technology market and the labor market.

In his address, Stepan Zemtsov focused attention on the fact that the pandemic sped up the digital transformation of the economy: remote work, online instruction, online ordering, automation of processes and other. All these things take place amid the continuing aging of the population and decline in employment, particularly, in manufacturing. At the same time, the share of higher skilled workers in employment is growing.

However, Russia lags behind considerably from other countries in terms of the level of robotization, that is, the ratio of the number of industrial robots per 10,000 industrial workers. In 2020, the global average ratio surpassed 100 persons, while in Russia, only about 20 persons, that is, 5-fold lower.

Stepan Zemtsov noted that the highest level of robotization could be found in traditional industrial regions with advanced manufacturing: Mordovia, the Sanara Region, the Tver Region, the Moscow Region, as well as regions of new development, such as the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region. In regions with older population, the level of robotization is higher. This can be explained by labor shortages for automation of production.

The outputs of the study have revealed that in the past few years in manufacturing wages have decreased as compared with average ones which can be explained by the effect of automation. The 2020 preliminary data point to the correlation between the level of robotization and the reduction in employment in industry in Russian regions, but this correlation is rather weak because of a small number of surveys.

As a result of the crisis of 2020 and subsequent changes in technological paradigm in Russia, large urban agglomerations which attract and create human capital and regions with a high level of digitalization and better conditions for entrepreneurial activities are highly likely to consolidate.

Presentation to the report.