Education System: Challenges to Labor Market in the Era of Digital Economy

Angelina Y. Martian,
School of Governance and Politics, MGIMO University

The global tendency of digitalization has become a universal phenomenon covering all spheres of social live, including economy. In this sense it is obvious that the current education system, that forms players for the new digital labor market, is to undergo several changes. The article gives a description of problems that educational institutions face on their path to the transformation and analyzes the possibilities that can help in satisfying labor market requirements.

Key words: education system, digital economy, digital society, Russia

Main body
The digitalized labor market demands for workers with several particular competencies, but public institutions of secondary and tertiary education are not ready a professional with the complex of required skills due to numerous reasons. However, modern type of education such as massive open online courses can help in training a worker of the new era.

Trends in social relations

The whole world is gripped by the idea of digital transformation. It can be argued that with the modern situation in social relations, humanity has entered a new phase of its development, which is called the era of digitalization. At the new stage human activity is associated with the creation, processing and using of information presented in digital form. Nowadays, most of the employed population is migrated from the sphere of production of traditional goods and services to accumulation, storage, search, processing, redistribution of information.

Moreover, today new social relations in which digital economy occupies the main position in all spheres of social life, have significant impact on the labor market. Digitalization of the economic system is the main development direction of a state and its economy.

According to the thesis of the Russian President Vladimir Putin that "without digital economy we will not be able to move on to the next technological paradigm, and without this transition there is no future both for Russian economy and our country as a whole"[1], it is necessary to determine the impact of digitalization on the needs of the economy, the changing nature of working process and the place of  a person in a production chain, and thereby define new professions that will be in demand in the context of education and economy transformation. The education system should be changed as well, as competencies, the system of motivation of a person to training and education, the organization of work has already changed. So that it is required to teach today what will be necessary tomorrow in order to educate competitive professionals who could make contribution to the Russian global standing.

Education should contribute to society's development and growth of its opportunities. For this purpose, it is necessary to form freethinking and creative personalities. Creativity in this sense means any process of searching solutions to complex and intricate problems and implementing them. Creativity is a process of turning impossible into possible.

Despite the digital transformation of the educational process, changes in forms and methods of teaching, classical fundamental education remains important for the formation of a modern system of professional education. Today, the educational path is changing under the influence of the external digital environment. Nevertheless, the changes are not enough, as new professions appear faster than educational programs could be developed for them. Therefore, the system of additional professional education is gaining in popularity in creating programs of professional development or professional retraining in popular professions, which will help to be competitive in the modern information environment.

Modern specialists have a number of basic requirements that they are to satisfy:

- IT literacy. In modern society it is necessary to develop digital competences and to use information and communication technologies in professional activities.

- Language mobility. The specialist is able to master different foreign languages, as required by professional suitability.

– Desire to learn. In the context of "industry 4.0" there is society of continuous training capable to be trained throughout all life.

– Labor migration. The person is able to master different professions and retrain throughout life.

Problems of digital transfer

Recently digital economy was limited to e-Commerce and provision of certain services through Internet services, but now its activity has significantly expanded: health care, education, transport, etc. Professor Kurzweil noted that "digital economy is becoming a new era on the path of mankind"[2], it is safe to say that digital economy is reaching a new level of its development, determining the vector of strategic development in the world information space. Taking the fact into account, in a highly competitive environment most professions require interdisciplinary knowledge in various fields. Currently, the creation of the so-called digital society is underway, in which a number of production issues are solved in the interaction between economic entities. This interaction is based on three components: information, knowledge, communication.

Under the circumstances of the "digital era" in all sectors of the country's economy there are a number of difficulties associated with the transformation of state mechanisms into cyberspace. The Russian education system is not an exception, it faces a number of problems, the main of which are:

1. The transfer of knowledge, the formation of skills is carried out by using digital and information technologies, that needs to use all the possibilities of electronic, distance and interactive learning, but the technological equipment in Russian educational institutions leaves much to be desired.

2. The global economic space sets the demand for new types of competencies. Professor of practice of the Moscow school of management "SKOLKOVO" Pavel Luksha identified the following competencies[3]:

- empathy and emotional intelligence;

- critical, problem-oriented, systemic, cooperative and creative way of thinking;

- literacy of the 21st century: understanding of global issues, skills of health management, ability to care for environment, financial literacy, etc;

- informational and communicative and media competence, including programming and information hygiene;

- flexibility and adaptability;

- ability to learn, unlearn and relearn throughout life.

The competencies of the future determine the formation of a modern person as a "person of a new era" who will have the ability to apply research and design methods in his/her work. But currently the Russian educational programs are fully oriented to hard skills building and not to the soft ones.

3. The shift of value orientations in the consumer society forms a new type of student in the educational system.

New possibilities

Currently, the education of the future is undergoing a digital transformation, goes beyond the time frame of life, beyond educational institutions using the unique opportunities of network and digital technologies, involving all direct and indirect actors in the educational process. The role of the teacher is changing in the era of the digital economy, there are new forms of interaction between a teacher and a student, a so-called network interaction.

Under today's rapidly changing conditions, the statement: "Non scholae sed vitae discimus" (translated from the Latin, We do not learn for school, but for life) is of particular importance, when the needs of the economy determine new (popular) professions, it is impossible to obtain at universities a profession for a whole course of life. Modern transformations in the education system show that the reform is aimed at the formation of personnel for the future and people need to develop skills and abilities to retrain in accordance with the requirements of the labor market.

In recent time the leading role in the pedagogical process belongs to electronic educational technologies. One of the most popular pedagogical trend is the creation of massive open online courses as systems of additional education (MOOC). Open educational resources help in digital pedagogy to provide mass education (the number of registered in different courses reaches hundred thousands of people). Its accessibility to each student worldwide and high quality of education, as these courses are created by the best Russian and foreign teachers, are the main benefits of the type of education. These modern digital technologies allow to integrate Russian education into the world educational environment and to form people of new professions for digital organizations. This promising form of distance education gives freedom of learning, the opportunity to choose independently a future profession, increases the motivation of students to acquire skills that allow them to be competitive in the digital space. MOOC removes the space-time constraints as studying an educational course is beyond the scope of one educational organization.

Nowadays, the several large platforms of mass open online courses were created by world well-reputed universities, and namely the platform Coursera (Stanford University), KHAN (representatives of Harvard University), edX (Massachusetts Institute of Technologies), Udacity (Stanford University) and others. By its structure, the mass open online courses include video lectures (video fragments), training exercises (tasks to consolidate the material), homework, control tasks.

In the period of digital transformation, the role of University teachers is changing significantly, they must use all possible techniques, methods, means of electronic and distance learning, as well as participate in innovative transformations of society and business communities, then they will be in demand in the information educational space. Teachers who are the authors of online courses organize and involve students in network group training, forming their abilities to creativity, because the creative class is able to manage the processes of sustainable socio-economic development in the conditions of digital transformations of public relations.

The order of the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation dated August 23, 2017 No. 816 approved the procedure of e-learning and distance education programs by educational organizations. According to this document, organizations engaged in educational activities have the right to implement educational programs or parts thereof with the use of e-learning, distance learning technologies, organizing training sessions in the form of online courses, and students who have mastered educational programs in the form of online courses are provided with the appropriate document, that gives them the right to take examinations in any educational organization.


Let's note that the digital imperative as the basis of transformation involves not only revolutionary technological change and innovations, which ultimately lead to tectonic shifts in the transition to a digital economy, the digital adaptation of social processes, but also the formation of new social relationships and governance structures based on digital technology. In this sense, education plays an important role as only new professionals as a part of labor market could lay the ground to the further and successful digital transformation.


  1. Federal law No. 273-FZ, dated 29.12.2012 "On education in the Russian Federation"(2012). No. 53 (part 1).
  2. Order of the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation No. 816, dated 23.08.2017 "On approval of the Order of application by organizations engaged in educational activities, e-learning, distance learning technologies in the implementation of educational programs" (2017). No. 78 (part 2).
  3. Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly (2018). Rossiiskaya gazeta. Vol. 46
  4. Andreev A. (2014). Russian open educational resources and mass open distance courses. Higher education in Russia. No. 6. P. 150 – 155.
  5. Grundke, R., Marcolin, L., & Squicciarini, M. (2018). Which skills for the digital era?
  6. Kurzweil R. (2005). The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.
  7. Larsson, A., & Teigland, R. (Eds.). (2019). The Digital Transformation of Labor (Open Access): Automation, the Gig Economy and Welfare. Routledge.
  8. Luksha P. (2015). Educational innovations or what we need to change in education. Foreign Trade Operating System: International Presentation Catalog.

[1] Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly (2018). Rossiiskaya gazeta. Vol. 46

[2] Kurzweil R. (2005). The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.

[3] Luksha P. (2015). Educational innovations or what we need to change in education. Foreign Trade Operating System: International Presentation Catalog.