Most employees in Central and Eastern Europe say they would need a 20-30% pay rise to cope with inflation, but between 60-77% say they have not been told of any increase by employers, according to a regional survey by Undelucram, one of the leading employee community networks in Central and Eastern Europe. The survey was conducted in Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Greece.
In four of the five countries surveyed, most employees (17-37%) said they needed a 20-30% pay rise. The exception is Greece, where most employees said they would need an increase of 10-15%. It is worth noting that in the Republic of Moldova, 32% of employees would need an increase of 30-50%, and 21% more than 50%.
The survey was conducted between December 2022 and March 2023, with 12,801 employees in Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Greece as respondents. They work in IT, retail, financial banking, BPO & services, telecommunications, consumer goods manufacturing, healthcare services, industrial manufacturing, HoReCa, hydrocarbon/energy production-transport, scientific/technical services, construction/furniture, media & culture.
Employees in Romania and Hungary are optimistic about wage growth in 2023: 53% and 62%, respectively, believe they will receive a wage increase. In contrast, the majority of those in Greece (61%), Moldova (60%), and Bulgaria (55%) do not think they will get a pay rise this year.
Moreover, most employees in the region have not been told they will get higher wages in 2023. In Bulgaria, 77% of employees say they have not been informed about a possible pay rise, followed by Romania (75%), Moldova (71%), Greece (66%), and Hungary (60%).
Between 32-43% of employees in the region will look for another job if their wages are not increased
If they do not receive a pay increase, between 32- 43% of employees in the region will look for another job, while 18-30% of employees have no plans.
Romania is the country with the fewest employees looking for a second job (12%), but also with the most trying to negotiate a pay rise with their manager (19%).
Moldova has the highest percentage of employees who would take a second job or collaboration (22%), and Hungary has the highest rate of employees who have no plan if they do not get a pay rise (30%).
Although their incomes could be significantly increased by various benefits (packages including meal cards, health/pension/life insurance, etc.), employees are least interested in such income increases – between 7-9% of employees would appreciate such initiatives.
Employee performance matters most in Moldova
Hungary has the highest percentage of employees receiving an annual salary increase (58%), while Greece has the highest rate of employees receiving higher salaries only after a discussion with their manager (59%).
In Moldova, performance matters most, with 34% of employees receiving a pay rise based on results.
Bulgaria has the most employees who receive a pay rise only if they occupy certain positions (14%), and Romania has the most employees who receive a pay rise twice a year (2%).
Romanians and Moldovans are most optimistic that they will do well even if they don’t get a pay rise
Employees in Romania and Moldova believe they can best cope with inflation without limiting their spending, even if their wage is not increased. Thus, 8.2% of employees in Romania and 7.6% of Moldova employees said they would do well in this situation. By contrast, in Bulgaria, most employees (36%) say they will find it very difficult to cope, as monthly payments and expenses are already a large part of their salary.
In Hungary, the majority of employees (30%) think they will manage well if they make minor adjustments, such as going less on holidays, to events and buying cheaper products. On the other hand, in Greece, 22% of employees say they will have a hard time even without bank repayments, as their salary is already low and there are no prospects for growth.
“We see that most employees are hoping for 20-30% pay raises, but employers have not yet told them about such increases. This is an important signal for companies, especially as a significant part of people (between 32-43%) said they would look for another job if their salary was not increased“, says Costin Tudor, founder and CEO of Undelucram.ro.