• 2007 Labor Market Trends

    Tuesday, 09 January 2007
    2006: The number of job postings for work in the EU has increased three times
     
    In 2007 we expect increasing lack of qualified workers at the labor market. This will affect especially specialists with higher education. The major reasons behind this trend are: economy growth and growth of already working companies; new foreign and domestic investment flows; big infrastructure projects; migration of specialists to EU countries.
     
    One of the most significant features of the labor market in 2006 was the establishment of the so called “Job-Seeker’s Market”. This defines the situation where job-seekers are in the position to choose companies and the conditions they offer simply because of the increasing lack of qualified candidates. We have observed this process since 2004 in Sofia; by the end of 2005 it could be observed in Varna region as well. During 2006 the process deepened and spread out to Plovdiv, Gabrovo, Stara Zagora, etc.
    The “Job-Seeker’s Market” will continue to exist throughout 2007. Higher levels of starting salaries, rising of salaries and benefit packages in order for the companies to keep their employees can be outlined as direct results of its existence. There is a significant increase in the level of salaries which outruns inflation (more than 10% in most spheres of the private business). Increasing salaries is not necessarily dependent on the increase in companies’ production or profit, but rather aims to retain companies’ employees. We expect that in 2007 the increase of salaries will exceed 20%.
     
    Another feature of the labor market in 2007 is the strong increase of the number of foreign investors, especially after the joining of Bulgaria to the EU. This is going to raise competition among companies in attracting and hiring job candidates.
    Due to its unique position on the labor market, its international contacts and good reputation, JobTiger’s team has at least two business meetings per week with foreign investors, planning to enter the Bulgarian market.
     
    In 2007 several big infrastructure projects are expected to start. This will require a large number of specialists and will eventually lead to additional lack of specialists in the respective sectors.
     
    We have observed growing interest from EU companies in Bulgarian specialists. For 2006 we can report 3 times increased number of job postings. There was an immediate increase in the number of published job postings for EU after Bulgaria’s joining the Union and after formal limitations for Bulgarians to work there dropped out. Free work positions are mostly available for Bulgarians within the countries of the former Eastern block, namely Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, which faced the same processes just a few years ago. To illustrate the tendency, only within the first week of 2007, through its international partners, JobTiger published more than 45 job postings for various work positions requiring different levels of candidate qualifications. Traditionally, most of the job postings are for engineers, IT specialists, and qualified workers.
    JobTiger is a representative for Bulgaria of the two biggest networks of websites for recruiting, namely Monster/Jobpilot and CVO Group.
     
    At the same time we expect many job-seekers to come after closing down of companies as a result of the direct competition with EU employers. We expect that this process will most probably begin at the middle of the year.
     
    Another possibility for quick finding of employees is import of workers from abroad, especially in the field of tourism.
     
    Developing closer connections between business and education and bringing in a system for career counseling in universities and high schools will improve the labor market functioning. This initiative has started in 2005 and JobTiger has contributed to it significantly by establishment of the Foundation of Business for Education.
     
    A positive trend which can be observed is that an increasing number of Bulgarian companies invest in establishment and development of their own HR departments, considering concrete measures for retaining, training and motivating their personnel.
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