Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Slobodenyuk E.D. Wellbeing of Russian professionals: dynamics and specificity

Slobodenyuk E.D. Wellbeing of Russian professionals: dynamics and specificity // Journal of Institutional Studies. 2021. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 40–58.
ISSN 2076-6297
DOI 10.17835/2076-6297.2021.13.4.040-058

Posted on site: 12.01.22

Текст статьи на сайте журнала URL: (дата обращения 12.01.2022)


The paper is devoted to the issue of Russian professionals' life changes in the 2010s and the role of human capital in these processes. Life changes are analyzed by identifying mobility cases within three social stratifications by income, presence of signs of privilege or deprivation, and subjectively perceived position in society. For these purposes, we use panel data of RLMS HSE research for 2014-2018 yy. Trajectories of mobility are revealed by using of «Group based trajectory modeling» method. The results show that life stability dominates over mobility. Professionals still have risks of chronic poverty and chronic deprivation, although these risks are rare for them. They also have chances of objectively measuring sustainable well- being by income and privilege criteria. However, even those who have stayed rich and privileged over the years do not feel that they occupy the highest positions in social structure. It is shown that human capital plays a high role in life chances on sustainable privilege and a high-income level. An obstacle on the path to wealth is the dependency burden. The highest risks of poverty characterize young and middle-aged professionals, while professionals who reach retirement age have the highest chances to be rich. Thus, it is a good strategy to continue labor activity in retirement age. It was revealed that parental education significantly increases chances to achieve privilege position in Russian society. These odds are heavily influenced by composite rents. It is also shown that one of the major factors that create unequal chances of gaining high position in society (both in terms of income and privilege) is settlement inequalities. Despite a quite prosperous life dynamics measured by objective indicators, every third professional feels chronically poor or felt a sharp impoverishment during these years. These subjective assessments are weakly correlated with the quality of human capital and observed in all age categories. We associate this phenomenon with two factors: 1) negative stabilization in the 2010s and 2) with the fact that chances for objective well- being are confined mainly to the structural factor of settlement inequality. The position of professionals is often contradictory. The groups of privileged and wealthy professionals have little overlap in composition. In modern Russia, wealth does not imply a privileged position in society and vice versa. The same is true for poverty and deprivation. Absolute well-being, i.e., stable occupation of the highest positions in all three structural positions, is practically unavailable to Russian professionals.