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: 6647

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


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Content No 4, 2017