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Lack of personnel and high share of people outside the work force - problems of the Bulgarian labor market

Photo: pixabay

The rise in energy prices and the war in Ukraine are among the main culprits for the rising cost of living throughout Europe. But unlike western countries that take a number of measures to limit the impact of the crisis on consumers, inflation in Bulgaria has not stopped growing, reaching alarming proportions, and many people feel they lack support. This is evident from data of the National Statistical Institute (NSI), according to which inflation reached 17.3% in July. The labor market currently needs more than 230,000 employees and specialists in various fields, according to a study by the Employment Agency.

Managing to retain qualified personnel continues to be the biggest problem for Bulgarian employers. That is why most of them will do their best to keep their employees, even in case of a temporary pause of production caused by the energy crisis. However, a new wave of the pandemic would have an extremely negative impact on the plans to hire workers. In case of a new wave, 19.4% of employers would stop hiring new people and another lockdown would lead to the loss of more than 23,000 jobs.

"In Bulgaria, many of the enterprises are subsidiaries of foreign companies. If the number of their orders declined, this would be reflected in a decline of orders in Bulgaria and lower need for hiring workforce. With a moderate influence on this process, there should be no tension in the labor market", Svetlozar Petrov, the owner of one of the major job search and employment companies, said in an interview with BNR.

The early parliamentary elections are also expected to have an impact on the business environment:

"There is always a delay in the processes as the state administration itself begins to slow down. However, life is what it is and we have to accept it. After all, the elections are something we do ourselves", Petrov points out.

Seasonal employment lowers unemployment rates in the country in the middle of the year. The preliminary data of the NSI show a growth in the number of employed persons by the end of June. Their number rose by 34.4 thousand, or by 1.5%, compared to the end of March, reaching 2.31 million. However, the conclusions of the research of the Institute for Market Economy on the topic of "Assessment of youth outside the systems of employment, education or training and recommendations for integration policies" indicate that the Bulgarian labor market is among the most inaccessible for young people in the entire EU.

 In 2020, the share of young people who neither study, nor work in Bulgaria exceeds 18% of the population aged between 15 and 34. This is significantly above the EU average of 14%. This percentage is higher only in Romania, Greece and Italy. It is noteworthy that, both in the EU as a whole and in Bulgaria, the share of men and women falling into the group outside of education, training or employment differs significantly, as the levels are significantly higher among women. The analysis suggests several possible solutions to the problem. On the one hand, additional efforts must be made to keep children in school and prevent them from dropping out. On the other hand, additional investments need to be made in youth-related policies, as well as providing incentives for employers who attract young people.

Compiled by: Yoan Kolev

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: BGNES, pixabay

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