The number of employees fell for the first time below the threshold of 4 million, last year, 2021 thus continuing the trend from 2020, according to a termene.ro study.
Thus, if in 2019, 4.2 million people were employed in Romania (similar to 2018), in 2020 their number decreased to 4.1 million people, and in 2021 it reached approximately 3.811 million people. Although it is a widespread phenomenon, visible in all industries, HoReCa and constructions industry have seen the largest decreases, according to the study.
“Companies have been forced by the crisis to streamline their operations, and part of that process has been the abandonment of non-essential employees. As cynical as it may sound, it is one of the first steps a company must take in difficult times. At the same time, some employees have given up their jobs in Romania and have chosen to leave the country for countries where salaries are higher and jobs more stable,” said for Agerpres Adrian Dragomir, a business consultant and founder of termene.ro.
The HoReCa field lost more than 21pct of the employees, and the constructions field 21.6pct. The smallest decreases in the number of employees, compared to the level of 2020, were recorded in agriculture – 4.55pct – and in trade – 7.22pct.
The county with the sharpest decrease was Timis, which lost more than 11pct of the employees in 2021, while the smallest decreases were recorded in Prahova, Arges and Sibiu counties.
On the other hand, the only county in which there has been an increase in the number of employees is Bacau, where last year there were 1pct more employees compared to 2020 (from approximately 81,800 people to 82,600 people).
The three main reasons for the decrease in the number of employees, according to termene.ro specialists, are: the efficiency of the companies’ activity, caused by the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic (a large number of people were laid off as a result of the restrictive measures imposed by the pandemic, which was less visible in in the financial statements of 2020 and more visible in those of 2021); lack of qualified staff – the increasingly competitive environment (existing at the European level) makes it extremely difficult to find qualified employees, and many companies operate with a shortage of staff; significantly higher salaries offered in similar fields in Western European countries.
According to the same source, the jobs lost in the last two years will have to be recreated because the economy cannot grow with a shortage of staff. In the short term, it will most likely use cheap labour from countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, and in the long run the evolution of the unemployment rate will be directly linked to the existing evolution at the macroeconomic level, the study emphasizes.