Romania’s Unique Workforce Traits Were The Key For Its Labor Market Resilience In 2020

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 16/12/2020 | 14:08

The workforce disruption and pending economic recession fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic are causing daily uncertainties that will stretch well into the coming years. The acceleration of automation and need for digital solutions, even for basic day-to-day chores, are undermining trust in what people knew and were familiar with.


Something is certain though: local economies found resources from within and rose to the challenges they were facing in the first quarter of this year. So far, a combination of actions, inherited social traits and workforce resilience has helped countries from Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa to successfully manage the crisis.

This year-end edition of Inovantage lays in front of us, like a deconstructed DNA sample, those traits that define the region’s workforce landscape. The report aims to clarify: 1) what pre-pandemic conditions eased each country’s efforts and what accelerated their failings; and 2) what key learnings can public and private stakeholders learn and apply in the following years.

The report analyses global trends in workforce development and participation, but it focuses on the Eastern Europe, Middle East & North Africa regions (Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates).

The report’s key findings include:

  • The best prepared countries to tackle workforce challenges are the ones with good social mobility and widespread vocational and technical skills. Gender parity, ethnic minority integration and workforce inclusiveness play a key role in ensuring work transitions in challenging times.
  • Enhanced ICT infrastructure and digital skills are fundamental to tackle any future disruptions in labour markets. Countries with both public and private digital infrastructures and tech-savvy workforces had better results at managing the disruptions caused by initial lockdowns.
  • Government social measures and relatively lower interdependency with the globalised economy helped Eastern European countries bounce back easier. The local political responses towards the labour markets were initially timid and poorly communicated. Most countries announced more support measures after the Cohesion Policy Response to the Covid-19 crisis was released by the EU.
  • The future of work in EEMENA belongs to an ever-learning and digitally skilled workforce. With a vigorous but ageing population, countries in the region must offer more growth opportunities and up-to-date lifelong learning experiences to upskill their citizens.

The Romanian economy shrank by 4.7 percent in the second half of 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was driven by a decline of 10.5 percent in the second quarter. So far, the Romanian economy is expected to contract by 5.7% in 2020. The magnitude of the 2021 economic recovery will depend on: the evolution of the health crisis and its administrative response, the impact of the national economic stimulus, and the spillovers from the stimulus pursued at the European Union (EU) level. Romania is expected to receive €79.9 billion from the EU by 2027. So far Romania followed into the general trends of the region.

“The rebound of the Romanian economy was also supported by a series of traits. Good social mobility, small gap in gender pay and an educated population with reliable vocational and technical skills have made the local labor market flexible during this year. Unemployment numbers didn’t explode and employees that lost their jobs found at least temporary alternatives in order to assure their livelihoods. Also, Romanian companies benefitted by government social measures without too many restrictions. In other countries in the region this state support was conditioned by a quarterly impact analysis of the company’s activity. Employers and employees still face big challenges in sectors such as HORECA, Education, Arts and Entertainment, but mid-term job opportunities are more and more available. The report sheds light on them and other future trends.” – affirms Florin Godean, Cluster Manager Adecco Romania & Hungary.

In the short term, the pandemic has seen a new prioritization of workplace safety, with the Adecco Group actively working towards the dissemination of good practices in ensuring a safe return to work for employees across the world (The Adecco Group, 2020).

View the full report: HERE

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