As we already wrote, labour shortage causes serious problems in Hungary hindering economic growth. Companies report about thousands or, in some cases, tens of thousands of open positions – according to Világgazdaság. Thus, finding a solution seems vital for firms. As a result, some try to retrain fostered workers employed by the government and paid less than minimum wage. In the other hand, a complex solution might be Jobbik’s wage union initiation.
Labour shortage critical: abilities matter, not qualifications
Retraining people to shortage occupations is becoming more and more urgent. Ildikó Szűts, head of the Hungarian Association for People Management stated that they take into consideration
only the abilities, not the qualifications of the people
enrolled in their ‘on the job’ project. If somebody has the needed skills they can learn daily routine soon, even if they have a very different occupation – she added. Furthermore, it is hard to find an occupation not struggling with labour shortage in Hungary. For example, she heard that the employees of a company supporting car industry must meet only one condition.
They are hired, if they have two hands, two legs and they can talk.
Labour shortage perceptible in all sectors
According to Szűts, fostered workers might be retrained to skilled workers by their ‘on the job’ program. As a result, they could ease labour shortage in commerce and water utility management.
In addition, lack of cooks and waiters caused serious problems during the summer period in the restaurants of Lake Balaton. Furthermore, health care system has been struggling with too few doctors and nurses for years. According to Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO), there were at least 7 thousand unfilled positions in health care. To make matters worse,
processing industry was missing 20 thousand people during summer.
The president of the Hungarian Baker Association stated that at least 3 thousand bakers are missing along with butchers. Furthermore, official statistics do not always correspond to real data. For example, there are 3 thousand unfilled jobs in the construction industry according to HCSO. However, president of the National Federation of Hungarian Building Contractors states that they are missing at least 10 thousand skilled workers.
Hungary gave more than 6 thousand work permits to non-EU employees last year, according to the Hungarian Public Employment Service. In addition, minister for national economy Mihály Varga said in July that they issued at least
10 thousand work permits to employees coming from third world countries.
According to him, most of them work in shortage occupations, like the construction industry.
Seasonal employees go to the West
Furthermore, president of FruitVeB – Hungarian Interprofessional Organization for Fruit and Vegetable said that during harvest and vintage period, 15-20 thousand workers are missing. This causes perceptible problems, and also ha a bad influence on the quality of work. Ferenc Ledó stated that there are farmers who hire employees from Nógrád and Borsod to harvest fruits, green pepper and cabbage. In fact, Ukrainians used to come, but now they would rather go to Poland. Similarly,
Romanians prefer Italy and Spain because of the higher wages.
There are wine producers who enter partnerships and buy a wine combine harvester. Meanwhile, according to statistics, there are only 700 open positions in agriculture.
Robots and emigration might cause further problems
Ildikó Szűts highlighted that, according to some surveys,
approximately 300 thousand people might leave Hungary in the next years.
However, she added that, according to some papers, 47 percent of the jobs might disappear in the next 20 years in the Unites States because of automation. Furthermore, the number of vanishing positions in Hungary can exceed 300 thousand. Thus, extended retraining programs might not only become a temporary solution for today’s labour shortage. In addition, they can also provide an opportunity to move forward for people who lose their job to robots.