With the Euro zone in a tight economic spot and seeing only sluggish recovery, Romania stands to benefit as more European specialists respond by moving here. The country has traditionally played host to expats at the helm or serving on management boards of large foreign firms, and numerous entrepreneurs have developed businesses locally. Now a growing number of Western Europeans are coming to Romania to work in middle management positions or as specialists, say experts.
Foreigners, who are working not only in top management, but in other fields, are attracted by the way Romania has developed at a steady pace since EU accession in 2007, according to Mihaela Mitroi, partner in fiscal consultancy at the professional services firm PwC Romania. Last week the company organized the International Mobility of Employees conference.
“It’s not an aggressive development, but wages have started to go up a little. It’s important that the country is on a growing trend and compensation comes in the form of the lower cost of living in Romania compared to countries in Western Europe,” Mitroi told BR. “Foreigners who work in middle management positions, and even specialists, such as doctors and engineers, will come.”
She added that the high unemployment rates in Southern Europe – notably Portugal, Spain and Italy – have forced people to search for job opportunities in other EU countries with well established regulations.
“Romania is unfortunately becoming an emigration country for highly skilled people, while in the 90s this phenomenon involved only unskilled workers. We are seeing doctors and IT specialists leaving. The void will probably be filled by foreigners, either from Western Europe or Asia,” said Mitroi.
The Euro zone had an unemployment rate of 11.6 percent in September, while Romania had the seventh lowest unemployment rate in the EU, at 7.1 percent, according to Eurostat.
Since EU accession, the number of Romanian employees on detachment abroad has tripled to over 30,000 people, with most of them working in Germany, Italy, France and Belgium, in the industry, construction and transportation sectors, said Petronel Munteanu, director of the National Public Pension House, during the PwC event.
The detachment of Romanians abroad is a growing trend and some hold top management or regional positions, according to Mitroi.
“The EU faces a shortfall of 20 million specialists in the next two decades. These specialists will probably have to come from Asia, but the US and Canada have been more successful at attracting them than Europe,” said Mitroi.
Romania has an attractive flat tax of 16 percent, but labor taxation is among the highest in the region, commented Irina Preoteasa, manager at PwC Romania. She added that employees have to pay three different contributions, and employers six.