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The human capital of the Russian working class: status and factors

Anastasia V. Karavay, Candidate of Sociology senior researcher, ,
mailto: karavayav@yandex.ru
The human capital of the Russian working class: status and factors.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2016. Vol. 7. No. 2. P. 91-112

DOI: 10.19181/vis.2016.17.2.399

This Article is downloaded: 227 times
Topic: Social strata and groups: the potential of innovation activity

For citation:
A. V. Karavay. The human capital of the Russian working class: status and factors. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2016. Vol. 7. No. 2. P. 91-112
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2016.17.2.399


Presented in this article are the results of analyzing the main characteristics of general and specific human capital of the Russian working class. Based upon data from the “Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of the population’s economic welfare and health” for the year 2014, it is shown that qualitative changes took place in the beginning of the 1990’s when it came to workers receiving general secondary education, when a 9-year education cycle, which had become as standard for them, effectively eliminated the possibility for them opening a new career path further down the line. The results of this study also bring us to the conclusion that a general de-professionalization of the Russian working class had occurred, since older generations surpass young workers in terms of professional training, while finding a job based on the specialty received at an educational institution is quite a rare thing in this particular professional environment. Advanced training via additional educational programs among workers is more of an exception than a rule. Given these conditions, where the internet has found its way everywhere, and where we are exposed to ever growing opportunities for receiving knowledge at a distance – quite often for free – the working class has found itself to not be a part of these processes, due mostly to the fact that they lack the attitude for increasing the quality of their human capital. Furthermore, knowledge and qualification are not considered by the majority of Russian workers to be important components for succeeding in life, and even those who do strive towards increasing their human capital choose professional trajectories which are ineffective for this task. This article also shows that all factors associated with human capital in general do not significantly influence workers’ wages in any given field. In the end low quality of human capital among the majority of workers is in fact their own reaction to the behavior of their employers, and not only a consequence of their attitude towards their own education. So if employers and even the state are not interested in investing into the working class’ human capital, one should not expect them to aspire towards expanding their own knowledge and independently funding their own education, especially given their relatively low income.


workers, resources, human capital, the working class, young workers, education, resource-based approach, innovative economy, qualified workforce, additional professional education, modernizing production


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