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Despite a Shortage of Workers, Hungarian Employers Still Unwilling to Embrace Remote Jobs

Hungary Today 2017.11.20.

Writing for Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet, Gábor Sarnyai (whose Hungary Today blog posts you can read here) reports that, based on questions he posed to some of the country’s largest employment agencies, domestic companies remain wary of embracing the concept of employees working from home, despite the advantages such a practice may bring.

Overall, the Hungarian economy is facing a shortage of workers in nearly every sector; despite this fact, however, many companies are decidedly unwilling to, or are only taking tentative steps toward, creative solutions to this problem. One of the most prominent of these potential solutions is, of course, allowing employees to work from home.

Nikoletta Szigeti, head of the business arm of Profession Services, told Magyar Nemzet that, while internationally this is a growing trend toward working from home, this is not as true of Hungary, where many companies do not support the practice. And while most working from home in Hungary takes place on a project basis in the fields of computer science and marketing, statistics on how many people are working from outside an office are slim. The latest numbers from the Central Statistical Office (KSH) date back to 2011; at that time, just 3% of all employees worked from home. And while the situation may well have improved somewhat since then, Profession Services was unable to give any data on whether more job applications have been posted that included partial or complete home office work.

While it is unclear, then, exactly how many Hungarians are working from home, what is certain is that, on an international scale, the country is far behind on this front. In fact, this not the only facet of the employment world in which Hungary lags behind its Western European neighbors. According to Eurostat, while in Central Europe (and in Hungary) roughly 4.8-5.8% of workers are employed part-time, while in the Netherlands two-thirds of women work in this way.

Another issue that Sarnyai cites in his article is the inordinate importance Hungarian employers place upon years of experience within a specific field, rather than overall qualifications, although this tendency is loosening up somewhat due to the country’s severe shortage of workers.

In closing, the article notes that this situation has been exacerbated by Fidesz government policies, which have removed tax breaks for adult education, making it even more difficult for potential employees to gain the skills they need to enter the workforce.


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