Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Labour drought in Europe's east as workers go west
By Geza MOLNAR with Anca TEODORESCU in Bucharest
Budapest (AFP) March 19, 2017

A decade ago, business was booming for Hungarian construction firm owner Geza Borgulya.

He was making an annual profit of some five million euros ($5.4 million) and had around 60 staff including surveyors and bricklayers.

Now, the 44-year-old has barely a dozen employees left.

"I'm glad if I make a million in earnings," he told AFP in the central town of Rackeve.

Borgulya largely blames the decline on Hungarian workers heading to neighbouring Austria where wages are significantly higher.

"Those who work in western Europe easily earn 70 euros a day, we can't keep up with that here," said Borgulya.

Once an eldorado of cheap labour, companies in eastern and central Europe are struggling to fill thousands of jobs as workers up sticks and head to wealthier EU nations.

A staggering 20 million people have moved from the region to western Europe since the early 1990s, many of them headed for Germany and Britain, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The exodus, coupled with low birth rates and rapidly ageing populations, has left gaping holes in job markets across the region.

From healthcare and computer technologies to manufacturing and food industries, few sectors have been exempt from the drought.

The diaspora, which began with the fall of the Iron Curtain, was exacerbated by ex-communist countries' accession to the EU and the financial crisis.

Some 400,000 Hungarians have emigrated from the nation of 10 million since 2008, official figures show.

- Perks and problems -

"I have lost at least twelve people over the past three years, who have gone to England, Austria and Sweden," said a restaurant owner in Budapest, who did not want to be named.

The situation is even more acute in neighbouring Romania, the EU's second-poorest country after Bulgaria.

Three million Romanians, or 15 percent of the population, have left in recent years, with a majority of working age. Hospitals are particularly hard hit.

"We don't know what to do anymore to attract new recruits," said Ionela Danet, who runs a hospital in the city of Curtea de Arges in southern Romania.

She has been trying to hire at least 20 doctors.

"We have state-of-the-art equipment, we're on a tourist route, the region is beautiful and not far from Bucharest. Yet no one's applying," Danet told AFP.

The exodus from the region has "exacerbated shortage" of labour and "lowered potential growth" in workers' home countries, the IMF found in a report last year.

It's also forced companies to bump wages, increasing costs without boosting productivity.

Although eastern and central states have the EU's fastest-growing economies and unemployment rates are relatively low, employers fear that the labour shortage will soon turn into a serious obstacle for foreign investment.

While the Czech Republic has 140,000 vacant jobs primarily in the manufacturing sector, car-making hub Slovakia needs technicians while Bulgaria is desperate for engineers.

"Large companies are worried that if the issue isn't resolved, it will create... insuperable problems for their future projects," Bulgaria's economy ministry warned this month.

- Brexit anxiety -

To remedy the situation, corporations are trying to lure back workers with generous perks.

In Hungary, burger giant McDonald's is offering free accommodation to out-of-town staff, while cashiers can earn close to 1,000 euros at German budget supermarket chain Lidl -- a salary equivalent to that of an expert in chemical engineering.

Meanwhile Polish companies have turned to foreign workers from Ukraine to help fill the void left by the recent departure of some 2.4 million nationals.

An estimated one million Ukrainians are residing in Poland, making up a large chunk of restaurant and shop employees in the capital Warsaw.

"Without the Ukrainians, the Polish economy would be in deep trouble, particularly regarding less skilled positions," said Maciej Witucki, president of Work Service, one of Poland's largest employment agencies.

However emigration isn't the only cause for the labour drought.

A lack of investment in education and training has also left tens of thousands of young people without formal skills or employment.

In response, governments have rolled out apprentice schemes and teamed up with private businesses to draw recruits, in the hope that they'll take up domestic jobs.

The EU plans to toughen migrant labour rules and Britain's decision to quit the bloc might also drive down the number of arrivals.

Following last year's so-called "Brexit" vote -- spurred by a divisive debate on immigration -- eastern workers face an uncertain future in Britain.

Until now, only a modest fraction of them have returned home, according to IMF data, but that could change in the coming years.



G20 finance ministers to meet under America First shadow
Berlin (AFP) March 15, 2017
Finance ministers from the world's top nations gather in Germany Friday as fears grow that US President Donald Trump could upend the global economic order with his America First policy. Within two months of moving into the White House, Trump has already torn up the trans-Pacific free trade pact, threatened punitive tariffs against multinationals with factories outside the United States and a ... read more

Related Links
Global Trade News

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

CO2 stable for 3rd year despite global growth: IEA

Emissions flat for three years in a row, IEA says

New research urges a rethink on global energy subsidies

New Zealand lauded for renewables, but challenges remain

TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

Non-toxic material that generates electricity through hot and cold

New feedback system could allow greater control over fusion plasma

North Carolina ready for offshore wind energy auction

North Carolina offshore wind hailed as job creator

Flagship English Channel wind farm nears completion

French, Spanish companies set for more wind power off coast of France

Revealing the microscopic mechanisms in perovskite solar cells

Dubai harvests desert sun at vast solar plant

New solar energy plant to be installed on Barbuda

Sea change needed for low-carbon economy

Loss-hit Toshiba nosedives on fears about future

The EIC and Nuclear AMRC sign MoU

German energy company RWE evolving for success

Potential approach to how radioactive elements could be 'fished out' of nuclear waste

Study IDs link between sugar signaling and regulation of oil production in plants

NASA Study Confirms Biofuels Reduce Jet Engine Pollution

Scientists harness solar power to produce clean hydrogen from biomass

Petrol and jet fuel alternatives are produced by yeast cell factories

Supply-side pressure leaves bruise on oil prices

Russia will play OPEC ball, report finds

New Zealand expects strong interest in oil, gas auction

Germany's Wintershall expects steady oil, gas output for 2017

A new study provides solid evidence for global warming

US climate scepticism clouds G20 meet

Is spring getting longer

13 killed in Kenya in drought-related violence

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement