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Bulgarian Workforce
WORKFORCE AVAILABILITY IN BULGARIA

Bulgarian Workforce

Regardless of the relatively big emigration from Bulgaria for the past 20 years, nowadays more and more students decide to stay, live or return to Bulgaria with every passing year. Statistical data reports a significant decrease of the number of Bulgarian emigrating from the country. As economic and social conditions in the country improve on daily basis, the younger people are starting to realize the potential of our country and the fact that there already are great opportunities for professional development.

After 1989 Bulgaria experienced sizeable emigration from the country. Due to the economic difficulties experienced from the country during the transitional period, a lot of young people left at the end of 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. Because the process referred for the most part to the younger generations and the students, a lot of people in relate to it as the “brain drain”. Further Analysis of the “brain drain” phenomenon shows that such phenomenon does not exist concerning Bulgaria; it exists but regarding other countries and is much more troubling for them. The data supports the facts that the educated and skilled workers remain in Bulgaria or return to Bulgaria after they acquire their degrees abroad. Here is an extract from the report of the International Labour Office in Geneva regarding the “brain drain” phenomenon and Bulgaria:

“…The data clearly indicate an exodus from the lower academic rungs of the technical sciences only, and only a small fraction thereof was due to emigration. MA holders and PhD holders of all fields of science can be shown to have remained in Bulgaria, and the share of workers with completed tertiary education has been on the increase. In addition, as other countries in transition from communism, Bulgaria has been experiencing an influx of highly skilled personnel, both, from countries farther east and farther west. Further, the immigration from Bulgaria or of Bulgarians to Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and the U.S. is examined. It is found that from Germany, in particular, a substantial return flow to Bulgaria could be observed which was linked closely to previous inflows. The employment participation of working age Bulgarians in western countries appears to be low while in the Czech Republic it seems to be high but also highly responsive to the business cycle. Finally, since there are no publicly available data about the volume of migrants' remittances to Bulgaria, an attempt is made to assess the potential for remittances by comparing Bulgaria with other countries and their experience. The literature on the impact of remittances is very briefly reviewed. Overall, the report finds little to support the notion that Bulgaria has experienced a serious brain drain or that it could gain much from the immigrants. It is suggested to focus on remittances from emigrants and on incentives to transfer remittances through official banking channels.”

Clearly, the most perceived “truth” about the “brain drain” problem of Bulgaria appears to be inadequate.

With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union and the unstable American dollar, western countries are not so attractive to the young Bulgarians for a permanent move (even not for seasonal jobs). Bulgarian economy accelerates by the day. The biggest corporations and financial entities from the world have offices in Bulgaria, creating new job opening and giving great opportunities for young professionals from the country.

There has been a campaign in Bulgaria over the last couple of years to do its best to keep its young people and assist them in their professional development in the country. The campaign took a positive effect and nowadays young Bulgarians who graduate their higher education abroad tend to return to Bulgaria and develop here.

Bulgaria registers sizeable foreign investment each year and is on the right way of catching up with the advanced European countries. The standard of living and quality of life have improved remarkably compared to 10 years ago and as a result Bulgaria became more attractive and capable of taking care of its human capital.

As a member of the European Union, Bulgaria has accepted its priorities for action concerning employment: implement active and preventative measures for the unemployed and inactive; foster entrepreneurship and promote job creation; address change and promote adaptability in work; provide better investment for human capital and strategies for lifelong learning; increase labour supply and promote active ageing; eliminate gender gaps and promote gender equality; promote the integration of and combat the discrimination against people at disadvantage of labour market; make work pay through incentives to enhance work attractiveness; transform undeclared work into legal employment; promote occupational and geographical mobility.

Demographic and Macroeconomic Data

In 2006, labour productivity (calculated as a ration of GVA at fixed prices to the average number of people employed) has increased with 4.7% compared to 2005.

In 2006, the population in working age is 4,820,000 people, or 63% of the entire population. The population above working age is 1,740,000 people; and the one below working age is 1,200,000 people. There is a downward tendency for the entire population, which calls for the need of investment in human capital.

Bulgarian employment flexibility appears to be a lot less flexible than the European as only 2 % of the workforce is employed part-time.

Economic activity rate of the population in working age (15-64 years old) has increased from 60.7 % in 2000 to 64.5 % in 2006. The remaining 35.5 % of the people are out of the labour force, and 20 % of them are willing to work but they do not due to different reasons: lack of education, lack of experience,

Economic activity rate of people aged 15-24 years old is 29% and the one for the people aged 55-64 years is 43 %.

People having higher education in Bulgaria are 24.2% of the workforce (which is relatively high compared to the EU average of 22% in 2003) and the ones with secondary education are 57.4 % in 2006.
 

Economic Activity Rate (%)

Economic activity rate

Bulgaria

European Union

2000

2005

2000

2005

Aggregate (age group 15-64)

60.7

62.1

68.7

70.2

For youth group (15-24)

30.5

27.9

46.5

45.2

For employed (24-55)

80.6

80.2

82.6

83.9

For older group (55-64)

24

38

39.5

45.5

Source: Eurostat

Employment Rate (%)

Economic activity rate

Bulgaria

European Union

2000

2005

2000

2005

Employment Rate (age 15-64)

50.4

55.8

62.4

63.8

Employment Rate Women

46.3

51.7

53.6

56.3

Employment Rate (age 15-24)

19.7

21.6

38.1

36.8

Employment Rate ( age55-64)

20.8

34.7

36.6

42.5

                 Source: Eurostat

 

During 2003 the employment by economic sectors was 10% of the workforce employed in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, 32.8% employed in Industry and 57.2% in Services. Compared to 2006, number of people employed in agriculture, decreased by more than 30,000 people to 8% of the total workforce, industry registered for 34.5% and services employed 57.5 % of the workforce.

Employment by economic sectors, in thousands

 

 

 

2001

2006

Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries

254.8

252.2

Mining

 

 

41.5

38.2

Processing Industry

 

649.6

745.1

Production of electricity, gas, water

58.8

58.9

Construction

 

128.8

230

Trade, car and household equipment repair

405.5

494

Hotels and restaurants

116.9

156.4

Transport, warehousing and communications

208.2

220.3

Financial intermediation

38.5

39.1

Real estate and business services

108.6

147.2

Government and state insurance

214.2

225

Education

 

209.5

214.9

Health and social work

161

163.8

Other services

 

95

125.1

Total

 

 

2698.8

3110

Source: NSI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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