Opportunities for human capital accumulation in the small business sector

Opportunities for human capital accumulation in the small business sector

Soboleva I.V.

Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Head of Centre for Employment Policy and Labor Relations, Institute of Economics Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia irasobol@gmail.com

ID of the Article:

For citation:

Soboleva I.V. Opportunities for human capital accumulation in the small business sector. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 4. P. 60-72


Based upon the survey of working population involved in small business with different employment status (own-account workers, working employers and employees) undertaken in Moscow in 2014–2015, the paper explores opportunities for preserving and accumulating human capital possessed by skilled manpower employed in this sector of economy (subsample of 655 respondents with at least tertiary education is analyzed). It demonstrates that human capital development opportunities in small business to this day bear influence of the transformation crisis of the 1990s. The research reveals that human capital mismatch in the small business sector is higher as compared to the rest of economy while retraining opportunities as perceived by respondents are scarcer. Thus the problem of underemployment resulting in eventual loss of accumulated human capital is still acute. At the same time opportunities for preserving and accumulating human capital are distributed among small business actors unevenly and to a large extent depend upon employment status. Underemployment accompanied by loss of professional self-identification is mostly typical for own-account workers and for employees having informal arrangement with their employer, while among working employers and employees with official employment contract the share of those having a job matching the profile of received professional education, regularly undergoing training, and satisfied with opportunities for professional development is substantially higher. In spite of employers’ claims that informality of hiring has little influence on individual work situation the research proves it to be an important factor negatively impacting opportunities for professional development and human capital accumulation.

human capital; small business; skilled labor; employment status; informal labor relations


Chepurenko A.Yu., Obydennova T. B. (2001) Trudovye otnosheniya na rossijskih malyh predpriyatiyah (po materialam sociologicheskih obsledovanij) [Labor relations at Russian small enterprises (based upon sociological surveys)]. Voprosy ekonomiki [Issues of economics]. No. 4: 110–122. (In Russ.)

Djankov S., Miguel E., Qian Y., Roland G., Zhuravskaya E. (2005) Who are the Russian entrepreneurs? Journal of European Economic Association Papers and Proceedings. No. 3 (23). Р. 587–597.

Earle J., Sakova Z. (2000) Business start-ups or disguised unemployment? Evidence on the character of self-employment from transition economies. Labour Economics. No. 7 (5): 575–601.

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Russia 2013. National report. (In Russ.) URL: http://www.gemconsortium.org/country-profile/ 104 (accessed 15.10.2016)

Gоrshkov М. К., Sеdоvа N. N. (2015) “Self-sufficient” Russians and their life priorities. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya. No. 15: 4–16. (In Russ.)

Kliucharev G. A. (2015) “Rupture” of education and labor market: experts’ opinions. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya. No. 11: 49–56. (In Russ.)

Коzina I. М.. Zanghieva I. К. (2016) Labor protection and job satisfaction in small businesses. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya. No. 7.: 19–29. (In Russ.)

Kubishin E. S., Soboleva I. V. (2014) Situacionnyj analiz osnovnyh dvizhushchih prichin neformal’noj zanyatosti v Rossijskoj Federacii i predlozhenie osnovnyh rekomendacij v celyah sodejstviya perekhodu ot neformal’noj zanyatosti k formal’noj [Situational analysis of the main driving forces for informal employment in Russian Federation and elaboration of measures to facilitate transition from informal to formal employment]. In: Koulaeva O. and F. Lapeyre (eds). Sodejstvie perekhodu k formal’noj ehkonomike na primere nekotoryh gosudarstv – uchastnikov SNG [Promotion of transition from informal to formal economy based on experience of selected CIS countries]. Moscow: ILO: 89–134. (In Russ.)

Martsinkevich V. I., ed. (2009) Sfera obrazovaniya v sisteme Rossiya-Zapad (problemy ehffektivnosti) [Civic, ethnic and regional identity: yesterday, today, tomorrow]. Moscow: IMEMO RAS. (In Russ.)

Romanovich N. А. (2015) Job and citizens: some trends in labor relations of Voronezh citizens. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya. No. 9: 135–140. (In Russ.)

Soboleva I. V. (2001) O nedoispol’zovanii trudovogo potenciala obshchestva v period perekhoda k rynochnoj ehkonomike [On underemployment of society labor potential during transition to market economy] Obshchestvo i ehkonomika [Economy and society]. No. 10: 98–119. (In Russ.)

Soboleva I. V., ed. (2016) Social’no-ehkonomicheskaya zashchishchennost’ naseleniya stolicy, zanyatogo v malom biznese [Socioeconomic security of population employed in small business]. Moscow: OOO “EsPeHa”. (In Russ.)

Titov V. N. (2008) Neformal’naya ehkonomika v Rossii: istoricheskie tradicii [Informal economy in Russia: historical tradition]. Obshchestvennye nauki i sovremennost’ [Social sciences and modernity]. No. 5: 100–110. (In Russ.)

Toksanbaeva M. S. (2006) Social’nye interesy rabotnikov i ispol’zovanie trudovogo potenciala [Social interests of workers and usage of labor potential]. Moscow: Nauka. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T. (2015) Precariat – a new social class. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya. No. 6: 3–13. (In Russ.)

Ustinova K. A. (2014) Education sphere and labor market: problems of discrepancies. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya. No. 6: 96–103. (In Russ.)

Williams C. C. (2008) Beyond necessity-driven versus opportunity-driven entrepreneurship: a study of informal entrepreneurs in England, Russia and Ukraine International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. No. 9 (3): 157–165.

Yakovlev A., Golikova V., Kapralova N. (2006) Open markets and “shuttle trade” in the Russian economy: yesterday, today and tomorrow (based on empirical research, 2001–2005). Working paper WP4/2006/05. Moscow: State University Higher School of Economics. (In Russ.)

Content No 4, 2017