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Electronics Production | November 28, 2007

Shortage of workers in Central and Eastern Europe

In Central and Eastern Europe jobs are booming at the moment, however recently these countries had few jobs and many unemployed.
However the situation today is different the former 10 ex-communist countries have too many jobs and not enough people to fill these jobs.

Human resources director for Europe at Electrolux AG said “Three years ago, we had hundreds, maybe a thousand, of applications for operator positions in Poland.” “Now we have to go out and search for people”.

In number below shows the percent of companies reporting that skill shortage is an important obstacle to operation and growth: Latvia 52%, Czech Republic 51%, Lithuania 49%, Hungary 40%, Bulgaria 38%, Romania 38%, Poland 36%.

This numbers shows the average annual wages increases 2004–2006 in different countries: Lithuania 11%, Latvia 9%, Estonia 7.9%, Slovakia 4%, Czech Republic 3.9%, Hungary 2.3%, Poland 2%.

According to Jan Rutkowski, World Bank economist, the main reason for the labor shortage is the job creation, early retirement policies and out-migration in this region.

Eva Kulhankova, human resources manager for STMicroelectronics in Prague said “The main problem we see is that the local universities produce fewer graduates with the right profile.” However ST like many other companies in the region are now searching for employees in Bulgaria, Romania and the former Soviet republics.

EMS providers are in the same situation. Elcoteq with its plant in Estonia has more than 100 jobs available. Heikki Mäki, general manager of Elcoteq in Estonia said “The unemployment rate is close to zero in Tallinn.” ” Elcoteq can manage well through the shortage because personnel can be brought in from its other operations and the company is currently not expanding”

According to Ottó Sinkó, CEO at Hungarian based EMS provider Videoton, labour shortage in Eastern Europe is spread throughout the region but is location-dependent.

“The mobility of the workforce in this part of the world is substantially lower and, as a consequence, the regional differences could be very significant,” said Sinkó.

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