Slovaks not afraid of cheap migrating workers…for now

Eastern_Slovakia_izarbeltza.jpg

Cheap Romanian and Bulgarian labour is no threat to the Slovak labour market, a Slovak think-tank has declared. But the situation could change if all other countries in the region decide to keep their doors closed to Balkan workers.

According to analysis by the economic think-tank Institute for Employment, Bulgarian and Romanian labour is no major threat to Slovak workers. The institute points to several reasons:

  • Romanian and Bulgarian workers will prefer migrating to markets with higher levels of payment;
  • due to language barriers, workers from both countries have a preference for Germany, Ireland and the UK, in the case of Romanians also for France, Spain and Italy. The only exception is the Slovak minority in Romania, but since it is only 17,000 strong, it will not decisively influence the situation on the labour market, and; 
  • the unemployment rate  in Slovakia is higher than in Romania and Bulgaria. Slovak salaries are on average higher than in both Balkan countries, but still lower than in other countries in the region (the only exception being Poland).

Comparison of socio-economic characteristics (2005)

 

Slovakia

Bulgaria

Romania

No of inhabitants

5,384,800

7,761,000

21,658,500

Unemployment rate

16.3%

10.1%

7.7%

Long-term unemployment

11.7%

6.0%

4.4%

Minimum salary (euro, 2004)

148

61

69

Average salary (euro, 2002)

475.67

157

193.42

Average salary (in PPS, 2002)

1094.33

387.42

470.17

GDP per capita in PPS

55

32.1

34.7

Source: Eurostat 2004, 2005, 2006, SODB SR 2001

 

The situation might change very quickly, however, if the neighbouring countries and some of the large economies in the EU decide to keep their labour markets closed. In that case, Slovakia will become much more attractive – even if the language remains a huge barrier. 

That is one of the reasons why official circles try to keep all options open. Pavol Paska, President of the National Council (Slovak parliament) told the daily newspaper Hospodarske noviny that the country should “consider protecting the Slovak labour market”.

Article from EURACTIV.sk

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe