Mr. Tomov how the imbalance between demand and supply of labor is measured and what are the consequences for the labor market?
The imbalance is measured by sectors. Nowadays the demand for experts with average qualification and vocal education is the highest. The salary for turners, for example, is rising – over BGN 2000 – 2200 are offered for this job in the inside of the country. At the same time nobody wants to be a turner – young people flee from the production sector. For around 3-4 years the number of students in vocal education is dropping with over 30%. This paradox could be explained with the wide belief of parents that a degree in Humanities means easier and better paid job. But in reality it’s the exact opposite – there is unemployment. Around 60% of people with higher education degrees in Bulgaria work at positions, which require a high school diploma and doesn’t match their qualification. And a few years later they lose this qualification. Other problems are the improper vocational secondary school system and the higher education system.
The problem is that more than half of the unemployed don’t have any qualification.
They are illiterate as well. The distinction between low- and high-quality jobs will get deeper. The differences in payment will also get bigger. This is a ground for new social tension in our society. For example, the education system is not prepared for the new generations and the ways they learn. There aren’t enough resources for more flexible forms of learning. Schools detach themselves from technology.
Employers also have to realize that they cannot find prepared experts on the labor market. There are some approaches – to invest in a new model of interaction with the education sector, to make practical training accessible for students and to hire them later on. They shouldn’t stop training their people and investing in them. Only 30% of the companies are doing so but this is not enough.
We are on the last place in the EU by this indicator.
That’s right. If previously the struggle was to hire capable people, now the struggle is to keep them. Specialist are going to write the rules. Policies for keeping people on the job should be applied and this doesn’t mean offering them more money. A research of “Manpower” shows that salary is the 4th or 5th most important factor to stay at one work place. The opportunities to grow, the essence of the job and the environment are more valuable.
How many profession are scarce?
Around 190 – engineers, doctors, managers. It is hard to list them all. Staff is required in the chemical industry, machine operators are in demand, IT personnel. Staff is imported from abroad as well. But IT skills are crucial for a lot of professions. Also speaking a foreign language is a must, even two of them.
What is the realistic forecast for labor market in 5 years?
We could head straight into a catastrophe. At least 50 000 specialist are going to be needed. Because of the imbalance of demand and supply of skills business will be forced to transfer its investments to other countries, where the situation with human resources is better. Bulgaria has a strong need for foreign investments and big enterprises.