Romania has been a member of the EU since 2007. Romanians were, and still are, according to statistics, some of the most enthusiastic supporters of the European Community. The main argument of the most fervent supporters of the Union is that of mobility, which has allowed hundreds of thousands of Romanians to find work abroad, for much higher wages than at home.
The Romanians' moving abroad has created problems on the domestic market, creating a serious labor shortage. Here is Liviu Rogojinaru, secretary general of the SME Council, and vice-president of the Social and Economic Council of Romania:
"Unfortunately, many of our compatriots are seeking work outside Romania. At the same time, Romanian companies cannot find workers. For the last 2 or 3 years, for business people in Romania finding skilled and unskilled workforce has become a problem."
Corina Gonteanu, marketing director with the Manpower recruiting agency, commented on this:
"This issue with labor and talent deficit, talent meaning work matching skills, is a problem not only for Romania, as it is an issue at the top of the agenda in many international discussions. Beyond national specific problems, it is a matter facing most developed and emerging countries. That is for two reasons. One is demographic change. Western countries are confronted with a population aging fast, which makes them invest more in attracting talent, but also unskilled workforce from abroad. The second is increased individual freedom at this time, allowing them to move to look for work, unlike the situation 25, or even 10 years ago."
A few days ago, the National Labor Agency in Romania organized a national job auction. Around 45,000 jobs in about 100 localities around the country, in the private sector, were made available. Corina Scarlat, head of communication for the National Employment Agency, told us about it:
"This general auction for jobs is organized each spring, open to everyone seeking a job. Over 13,000 people were picked up and will go to a job interview, in order to prove they are suited for the job. By February, the agency mediated 42,000 hires, and last year over 300,000 people found jobs this way."
These results may seem impressive, but it must be said that at the job auction recently held only 816 people were hired on the spot. Most of them went into hotels and restaurants, followed by construction and agriculture. These figures are meager, proving that the jobs on offer are not particularly attractive. The main issue is that candidates don't find the jobs on offer attractive enough.
Cristian Parvan, secretary general of the Business People's Association, explains why salaries are meager in the private sector in Romania:
"The people who ask to be paid better are right. It is fair to be paid more. The main issue is what kind of jobs Romania offers. We work at prices that are imposed. This makes it impossible to offer higher wages. Our clients in the West tell us what the price is, whether we like it or not. If we don't like it, they tell us they go to Ukraine or Moldova. Obviously, among business people there are people who don't know how to assess the contribution of employees. It is true that we all struggle to convince them that employees are the ones that generate profits for companies, that the employees have to be taken care of, so that they can be more productive, more dedicated to their jobs, because they generate the profits."
According to official data, unemployment in Romania stands at 3.94% and dropping. In poorer regions, such as Oltenia in the southwest and Moldavia in the east, this figure goes up to 8 or 9%. Those areas are also the areas whose inhabitants leave to work abroad in the highest numbers, seeking a better living.