The modernization of Russian society and the transition to a market economy has changed the nature of the problems of social development and employment in different regions of Russia. Regional differences are generated by various factors. Some of these are the result of economic activity, including the free market and free competition. Others are tied in with a series of cultural and ethnic problems, such as some groups being drawn more towards a European culture, while others are drawn to the Asiatic culture. This may help or hinder the regions ability to cope with the modernization of Russia. This is a presentation of the results of a study on work and welfare in Russia, that began in December 1994. The study covers many topics such as poverty, employment or lack of, education, gender, and food consumption, in three areas of Russia: Moscow, St Petersburg and Voronezh.
The paper examines dynamics in demand and supply of skilled labor in the russian economy over the transition period of 1990–2000-s. It shows that despite a huge inflow of workers with tertiary education demand for such workers grew in the russian labor market even faster. This explains why unemployment for workers with high educational attainment remained low; why returns to education continued to be high; why a proportion of college graduates who occupied low-skilled jobs decreased rather than increased. However in the next decades a relationship between demand and supply might radically change so that the russian economy could face with massive oversupply of highly educated workforce.