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Precarity in Russia: attitudes, work and life experience of young adults with higher education

Elena Gasiukova (Laboratory for Comparative Analysis of Development in Post-Socialist Countries, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation)
Sergey Korotaev (Laboratory for Comparative Analysis of Development in Post-Socialist Countries, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 17 June 2019

Issue publication date: 3 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how young educated adults in the state of precarity perceive the lack of stability in their employment, life and prospects, and what influences their decision making with respect to their career.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative research on evidence from ten semi-structured in-depth interviews. The method of analysis is consensual qualitative research.

Findings

Young Russian adults in the state of precarity have little interest in stable employment, believing it imposes inadequately tight constraints in terms of work organisation, as compared to the potentially modest returns in terms of career development and professional self-actualisation. The respondents tend to choose work which corresponds to the rhythm of their lives and preferences. They are willing to sacrifice stability and higher income in the hope of achieving career success and financial prosperity in the future. They do not hope for or expect assistance from the state but feel fully responsible for their own lives. The downside of this optimism is the lack of long-term plans and, hence, the uncertainty of the future.

Originality/value

The authors not only consider the state of precarity as an effect of structural factors such as the state of the labour market, but also aim to show the role of the worker’s agency in creating such a situation. Instead of the conventional view of precarious individuals solely as victims of circumstances, this study suggests to regard them as actors whose experience, goals and aspirations determine career and life choices.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Research funding: the study was implemented in the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) in 2018.

The authors gratefully acknowledge Yastrebov G. and Fröhlich C. for their insightful comments on the research note.

Citation

Gasiukova, E. and Korotaev, S. (2019), "Precarity in Russia: attitudes, work and life experience of young adults with higher education", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 39 No. 7/8, pp. 506-520. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-10-2018-0163

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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