The Dutch multinational human resource consulting firm Randstad regularly publishes major surveys about the labor market in different countries. Diplomacy&Trade asked the Managing Director of Randstad Hungary, Sándor Baja, to highlight the major findings.
According to latest edition of the Randstad Workmonitor survey, work-life balance remains the biggest challenge for Hungarians. Sándor Baja points out that “first of all, one should know that four out of ten Hungarian employees were able to partially or fully work from home. What is most interesting about the coronavirus pandemic is that only 10% of the people who got used to working in home office would definitely like to return to work in the office and it is interesting that twice as many, about 20% would not like to return there at all.” In brackets, he notes that most of these people returned home or moved to countryside locations, and the big question, of course, how these very efficient and very productive people will be able to continue to work. In this situation, the employers need to think twice to force them to return and thus might lose them.
How to motivate and incentivize
The research has also found that two thirds of the people would like to have a balance between working at home and working in the office. “It is an interesting question, of course, what proportion will eventually stay at home to work and consequently, what the office space of the future will be like, how it will be to be changing and transforming from the actual workstations into a more cooperative work environment. We did this study in many, many – more than 30 – countries, and it turns out that in many places the employers very much insist and force people to get vaccinated. In Hungary, however, employers are not so pushy and not insisting so much on that. All in all, it is an issue of safety and this is an interesting question how to make sure that the workplace is COVID-safe if we are not challenging the employees to get the vaccinations. So, this is a very interesting question of human rights, the private individual rights of an employee, and, of course, that of the collective rights of the society to be protected,” the Managing Director puts a question mark. The conclusion of this Workmonitor study is that the world is always changing, the question is, how it can be made sure that the people will be motivated and incentivized to work efficiently in the future, he adds.
As regards the challenges and peculiarities of the Hungarian labor market compared with the other countries of the region, Sándor Baja highlights that the situation is quite similar in the countries of East Central Europe and “you should know that all the CEE region is profiting of an economic boom, which is very simply due to the reason that supply chains, whether in the manufacturing or in the service industry, are getting shorter and shorter so there is a nearshoring tendency with Hungary and the CEE region benefiting from it. That is because everybody would like to have the manufacturing capacities, and as well as the services, including shared services, closer to the market, closer to Western Europe, because these were unreliable during COVID times: unreliable because of the epidemic, because of accidents, like the one in the Suez Canal unreliable as well as for environmental reasons that are becoming more and more important. Transporting goods from Far Eastern countries is anything but the environmental friendly. Why in the Central Eastern Europe? That is because of the salary arbitrage, of course: if you check their salaries in East Central Europe, then you'll find that we are paid much, much less than in Germany or any other Western European country.”
The most attractive employers in Hungary
Another major survey by Randstad is the Employer Brand Research. As the Managing Director explains, information technology (IT) continues to be the highest attractive sector in Hungary. “What is surprising though, that the service industry, the business service sectors – formerly called shared services – are getting very, very popular. With the upgrade of these services, more high value added jobs are getting to Hungary and this is very attractive for beginners, the rookies because they can start in the shared service industry with some low profile jobs but you can improve, develop and promote yourself to very sophisticated controlling, analytical or IT jobs, for instance. The telecom and pharma industries have always been very popular but is very interesting to see that the car industry, the automotive industry is losing some attractiveness and this is normal as they are suffering, not just because of COVID, this phenomenon started before the pandemic.”
Sándor Baja also stresses that the gap between the 11 industries surveyed in this research project is getting narrower, so, there are few employers who can afford not to treat or not to consider the interests of their employees so more and more companies are professional in this sense. All in all, the number one among the most attractive employers this year is Samsung, followed by LEGO and Mercedes-Benz. It means that the hegemony of the car industry seems to be over.
The importance of the salary
Considering the most important brand values for Hungarian employees, the Managing Director stresses that “whatever people might say, salary is still the most important criterion and it is increasingly so in the times of the pandemic. I was really shocked to find how important work-life balance is! I thought that it is not so important when you have to keep your job, but it seems to have an increasing importance again. So, people like to have a highly paid job but at the same time very comfortable job despite of the crisis. We have also found that employees consider very important the financial stability of the employer as well as job security at a given company. So, the conclusion is: companies that are cutting jobs also see their image damaged, which means that it will be very, very difficult for them to get back to the previous level.”
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