Central-Europe: exodus and labour shortage
Based on official data portfolio.hu has calculated that 3.7 millions of Poles, Hungarians, Romanians, Czechs and Slovaks live in the five most popular Western-European countries. To make matters worse, real numbers might be even higher. For example, 3 million is the estimated number of those Romanians who abandoned their country. Therefore, the whole region struggles with labour shortage.
The whole region is on the move
Daily News Hungary already reported many times on the exodus of Hungarians to the West. Although at least 600,000 Hungarians are living at the moment in Western-European countries, exodus is not just a specific Hungarian problem. Several estimates show that the number of those people who abandoned their Central-European home and are working now in Western-Europe might exceed 5 million. Furthermore, these emigrants are mostly qualified, hard-working and young or middle-aged professionals. As a result, the whole region struggles with labour shortage and population decline.
Portfolio.hu examined the five most popular countries among Hungarians, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Sweden and Ireland. According to official data 3.7 million people live in these countries from a region of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. Most of them are Poles (2 million), but more and more Romanians come (at present 1 million).
Official data can be misleading
To start with, official statistics of the United Kingdom shows that only 91,000 Hungarians live in the country together with at least 900,000 Poles, 300,000 Romanians, 50,000 Czechs and 100,000 Slovaks. However, real number of Hungarians – according to portfolio.hu – can exceed 250,000. Therefore, the number of other ethnicities can be higher, too.
Furthermore, absolute numbers do not represent reality. If one compares the number of emigrants with the population of their home country, it can be stated that the rate of Romanians reached that of the Poles (5.13%). Hence, and because Spain and Italy are very popular destinations among Romanians as well, more Romanians live abroad than Poles. Thus, from a proportion point of view, Romania is in worse situation than Poland because the former’s population is only half of the latter’s.
Higher wages could attract emigrants to come home
According to Romanian estimates, the country already lost altogether 8 million people. In addition, 12% of Poland’s able-to-work population went to the United Kingdom by the end of 2015.
Speaking about motivation, most people mention higher salaries and more job opportunities among deciding causes. Since wages have lately risen in the region, more say that emigration has slowed down. However, for example, Hungary’s cummulated economic growth has been below the EU-standard since 2008.
Labour shortage threatening economic growth
According to a European Comission research, more and more companies complain about the lack of skilled workforce. They say that labour shortage is hindering their output-increase. In addition, Hungary is in the worst situation among other countries of the region since the rate of companies in process manufacturing and service industry struggling with the lack of capable labour force is higher in Hungary than in other countries.
Governments try to find ways to solve the problem. Easiest way would be to persuade these people to return home; however, no such programs have been successful yet. Therefore, Poland tries to attract Ukrainian workforce to fill empty places. As a result, at least 1 million people from the Eastern-European country already work there. However, according to an association of Polish employers and employees the country’s economy needs 5 million additional employees in order to maintain its growth.