Romania ranks among the EU states with low job vacancy rates in Q2 2018, despite claims that it needs foreign workers

Sorin Melenciuc 17/09/2018 | 15:45

The impressive economic growth Romania has been experiencing during the last few years has put increasing pressure on employers to find skilled workers in order to expand their businesses, but fresh official data show Romania is far from being considered to be in a “workforce crisis” situation.

The job vacancy rate in Romania remained flat in the second quarter of 2018 compared with Q2 2017, at 1.3 percent, the seventh lowest rate among the 28 EU member states, Eurostat data showed on Monday.

“Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, the job vacancy rate in the second quarter of 2018 rose in twenty member states, remained stable in Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal and Romania, but fell in Estonia (-0.3 percentage points,” Eurostat notes.

Vacancy rates in the EU, Q2 2018. Data source: Eurostat

This evolution is in sharp contrast with the impressive economic growth Romania experienced last year, posting a 6.9 percent GDP increase, the highest in the EU.

But experts warn that economic growth in Romania is slowing down and limiting job creation despite higher wages.

“With job creation slowing and limited fiscal space to maintain the pace of wage rises, we expect wage growth to ease a bit. While the economy is likely to be cooling off, wage pressures are likely to remain elevated and might be exacerbated by the electoral calendar,” ING analysts said in a recent report.

Economists point out that workforce shortage is concentrated in some areas like retail, a consequence of the fact that much of the economic growth in Romania is the product of a consumer bonanza, stimulated by years of wage-led growth government policy.

But the real labor shortage is currently experienced in EU by the advanced economies, with sophisticated structures and high wages.

Among EU member states, the highest job vacancy rates in the first quarter of 2018 were recorded in the Czech Republic (5.4 percent), Belgium (3.5 percent), the Netherlands (3.1 percent), and Germany (2.9 percent), according to Eurostat.

Foreign workers

Recently, seaside business owners in Romania said that they are having an increasingly harder time finding seasonal workers to provide the essential services of the tourism industry.

They urged the government to make it easier for them to hire people from other countries.

But few foreign workers are currently working in Romania.

Official data show the total number of non-EU foreign employees in Romania – permanent and posted workers – was 17,089 in July 2018, an all-time high, but a negligible number compared with the number of foreign workers registered in more advanced economies in western Europe.

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