Employment in the future: What’s in store for lawyers, accountants and HR officers?


By Oksana Oleksyuk, Head of Business Development at Intercomp

The editorial board of Garant.ru has broached an interesting topic that affects many professionals, including myself. The consequences of digitalization are not only discussed by professionals but also by governments and in international forums. The whole world is concerned that we will soon be replaced with robots.

Oksana Oleksyuk
Head of Business Development  

The World Economic Forum presented, just 2 days ago, a report on The Future of Jobs 2018. This report states that in the not-too-distant-future technology will be the reason for the disappearance of 75 million jobs while 133 million new jobs will also be created. It is therefore not difficult to conclude that the total number of jobs will increase by 58 million. But what kind of jobs will be created? How can professionals prepare for a “robot invasion”, and should they prepare for it? What can be done already now? We discussed all these issues openly with the editorial board of Garant.ru.

Garant: What skills and practices should accountants, lawyers and HR officers, for example, learn already today so as not to become “victims” of digitalization and be left without work when routine, simple tasks will be completed with the help of technology? Where should we expect higher requirements in the future: should we study technologies, complementary disciplines, attempt to cover “everything at once”, or would it be better to develop ourselves as field experts?

Oksana Oleksyuk: I think that any specialist now needs to be able to work with software programs specific to their particular field. Many large Russian and Western companies use IT technology a lot to ensure effective interaction among their employees, for HR records as well as development and evaluation.

For example, Employee Self-Service (ESS) is used for routine HR tasks in companies. ESS allows employees to send requests (vacation request, job reference, etc.), their manager to approve these requests, and HR specialists to monitor requests, as well as coordinate HR operations and quickly respond to employees’ requests. This communication takes place electronically online, which makes it much faster. These services may be provided both through portals and HRM systems.

HRM systems are widely used by modern employers to support employee lifecycle, including induction, development and evaluation. HR specialists, who want to be in demand on the labor market, should learn how to use the most common systems and keep their knowledge in this field up to date.

Accountants also use IT technology a lot in their work. They usually use at least a payment system, online banking, a software program for reporting through electronic communication channels, ticketing systems.

As for lawyers, they cannot work without reference systems such as, for example, Garant. Searching skills are necessary for lawyers as they need to review documents, articles and materials, analyze court practice and search through applicable regulations. Modern specialists simply need to be able to work with the reference systems used in their field.

Garant: Do you expect all employment paperwork to be digitalized soon? Or is it just wishful thinking, and documents will continue to be duplicated on paper for a long time?

Oksana Oleksyuk: The conversion of HR paperwork into electronic form has long been discussed at different levels by the government and business community. HR specialists have long awaited the switch to electronic employment record books. The Russian government adopted in 2017 the program Digital Economy in the Russian Federation to implement a strategy for the development of an information society. As part of this program, specialized working groups have been set up and work on developing legal and practical grounds to convert HR paperwork into digital form. The Federal Service for Labor and Employment (Rostrud) together with a number of large companies are currently launching a pilot project to assess whether it would be possible to introduce electronic document management. A number of priority areas for HR digitization will be identified in October 2018 as a result of this pilot project. Several large companies with wide geographical presence already now use electronic document management systems to simplify the coordination of HR documents and automatic issuance of electronic documents but, in most cases, it is all still duplicated on paper as this is required by law.

Rostrud also liaises with the Labor Inspection in electronic form. Employers may already now conduct a self-assessment of their HR paperwork using the checklists posted on Rostrud’s website. It is also planned to introduce electronic self-assessments as well as incentives for employers to use them. This will allow labor authorities to save resources as they will no longer conduct routine inspections as well as focus on spot checks triggered by violations of labor law.

The adoption of this program seems to be a sign that the government is serious about wanting to switch HR paperwork to electronic format, and we should be able in the near future not to issue many documents on paper.