Monday, December 31, 2018

Only Three Percent of Young Russians Want to Work in Private Sector, Study Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 30 – Only three percent of young Russians want to work in the private sector with more than 60 percent saying they would prefer the stability offered by employment in major companies linked to the government or even the government itself, according to a new sociological study of young people in Tyumen.

            Elena Andrianova, Anna Tarasova and Irina Pecherkina surveyed Russians aged 18 to 30 in 2006 and 2016 to reach that conclusion (“Motives and Labor Values of the Young: Paradoxes of Development” (in Russian), Monitoring obshchestvennogo mneniya 3(2018) at

            Young people in both the pre-crisis year of 2006 and the crisis one of 2016 preferred the stability that government employment offers compared to the economic possibilities of the private sector even in Tyumen, one of the most economically prosperous regions of the Russian Federation, the three sociologists say.

            And they stress that “despite the lengthy period during which market reforms have been carried out, paternalist attitudes among the young have not disappeared into the past.” Instead, “the motivation of ‘stability’ has only intensified,” with the young preferring smaller salaries they can count on to larger ones that may at some point be at risk.

            Moreover, they say, this preference for stability over opportunity now affects ever younger Russians.  In 2006, the former dominated the latter only in groups over the age of 38; in 2016, it dominates all groups over the ages of 27 to 29. That means that in Tyumen, the share of market-oriented Russians is falling.

Some, perhaps most of this shift reflects an entirely understandable reaction to the increasing difficulties Russians face as a result of the economic crisis and sanctions; but it also reflects the way in which the media talk about the various sectors, with government presented in a largely positive light and the private sector in a negative one.

In presenting this article to a larger audience, Pavel Pryannikov of the Tolkovatel portal says that the study shows that “even young people in Russia want stability, which they understand as providing social and labor guarantees” and are willing to accept lower pay to get it (

“This may be called paternalism (still of the Soviet type) or possibly social democratic since the young people do not cast doubt on the existence of a market economy” even though ever fewer of them want to work in it,” Pryannikov says.   But he argues that “the government cannot satisfy this demand” because it is cutting back government employment as well.

And that means, he continues, that “the gap between expectations and realities of Russian young people will only grow since private business is not interested in such ‘stability’” either. 

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