The Job Market in Central Europe

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New Job creative sign with clouds as the background

Since the European Union started to expand towards east, multiple Central and Eastern European countries profited from a wide range of investments from Western countries looking forward to enjoy the benefits of implementing branches in new economies with high possibilities of return and low competition. Thanks to that, the job market in Most of EU’s new members (Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary) grew considerably since 2004 specially in the areas of finance and information technology.

After spending the last century being destroyed by wars and oppressed by a socialist unviable regime, the Central European nations were freed in the 90’s, following the collapse of Soviet Union, but only from the year 2000 the job market could profit from this freedom as internet allowed multiple jobs to be done from remote locations, beneficing also from the announcement that the European Union would be enlarged, allowing most of the former socialist republics to ascend towards the region’s Economic bloc.

Nowadays, virtually all banking sector in Central Europe is maintained by Western groups, which either installed their subsidiaries in the formerly socialist countries, or bought the banks which were already present in the region, partially or entirely, creating a whole new hierarchy of employment in these countries’ financial sector.

The information technology also created a huge inflow of vacancies to the countries which had their economies stagnated for decades thanks to the failed socialist system: with lower costs of production (lower salaries, tax incentives, less burdens to the employer), and highly educated personnel, a hysteria of IT outsourcing could be witnessed in these countries, allowing major companies to cut their costs moving back offices firstly to countries as the Czech Republic and Hungary, spreading out later on as far as Lithuania and Bulgaria.

As many of these jobs created in the east reflected in cuts in the west, the inflow of expatriates from Europe and third-part countries to the new EU members grew considerably, and profiting from an easier work permit legislation, several IT professionals from other continents also came to join the job market revolution in central Europe, as well as locals, which, using the freedom of movement in the block could as well look for opportunities in different countries regionally.

Today, cities like Prague, Budapest and Sofia profit from a cosmopolitan and multinational job market, highly connected to the west with low cost airlines, as well as the traditional means of transportation (mostly by railways). These cities attract not only workers from the region where they are located, but also professionals from the West, considering the high standards of living of countries like Slovenia and the Czech Republic, which already surpassed former Western EU members in GDP per capita, such as Portugal.

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