Non-Standard Forms of Employment Open Up New Opportunities for Growth in the Labor Market

6 april 2018

The Analytical Center has held a discussion about non-standard forms of employment that have emerged as a result of, among other things, the introduction of digital platforms that connect employers and employees.

Deputy Head of the Federal State Statistics Service Konstantin Laikam talked about the new methods used in the Russian employment statistics. "Since September 2009 the Federal State Statistics Service has been conducting selective studies of the workforce. Since 2017 we've been conducting monthly surveys of 77 thousand people aged 15 and older. In one year some 924 thousand people were surveyed or 0.72% of the population in the age group we are interested in," the expert said. The surveys look at a broad range of issues such as workforce, employment, the time people work in their main job and in any extra jobs, unemployment, the ways people look for work, forms of employment and others. Mr. Laikam noted that since 2017 the Federal State Statistics Service has noted the emergence of non-standard forms of employment. For example, there are people that manufacture products for their own consumption, interns who get on-the-job training without being paid, and volunteers.

There are several definitions for non-standard forms of employment used in different countries and by various international organizations. According to Janine Berg, the chief economist of the International Labor Organization, there are four types of non-standard employment: temporary employment, part-time employment and on-call employment, outsourced employment and other forms of employment that several parties participate in, disguised forms of employment relationships and dependent self-employment. "As technologies develop changes occur in employment, the services sector is booming and this is driving the growth in non-standard forms of employment," the expert believes. According to Ms. Janine Berg, globalization is changing the strategy of many companies: they no longer need to have everyone on staff and are increasingly making use of outsourcing. "At the same time, a lot of employees feel ill at ease because of irregular employment. They can never be sure how much money they will be making in the future and they don't have access to social benefits," the expert believes. One of the main problems of casual employment is that workers often don't get paid for the work they do; this situation is typical of such places as India and African countries. "We need to try and ensure equality in how employers treat their staff and non-staff employees, we need to create guarantees for non-staff employees through some kind of public associations," Ms. Janine Berg is sure.

According to Elena Zotova, a lead advisor of the Analytical Center, the OECD classifies as non-standard forms of employment temporary employment, dependent self-employment, i.e. when the employee is regarded as self-employed but in fact only has one client, and employment through digital platforms. "Nobody knows for sure what the scale of non-standard forms of employment is. The OECD estimates that in 2015 the highest share of informal employment was  in Indonesia and India, and the lowest share was in Chile, urban China and Russia," the expert said. Ms. Zotova believes that the new forms of employment that emerge as a result of new technologies, including various technologies for closing deals, software and digital platforms, have opened up new opportunities for the development of the labor market.