First of all, with remote working, there are no more borders. Romania is a valuable market. We have clients – companies from Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, USA – who come to us with the following requirement: “we need talented people, who are comfortable with English, with middle or senior level experience in the following specialties”, and here you can include any role that can be done remotely, including managerial roles coordinating small teams. And if we talk about top management positions, the hybrid model, 3 (on-site) with 2 (remote), is widely accepted, remote team management is very much a reality.
As such, any company active in Romania competes for this niche of talent. Where jobs need knowledge and cognitive skills, the labour market has no borders.
But let’s see what we can find in the market, what current employees are looking for, what candidates for other jobs or other roles are looking for, in companies or outside them.
- 1. A clear trend is the change of industry or change of field of activity. Especially for those working for 10-15 years in a demanding industry – e.g. automotive – or in roles that require availability for long hours, lots of travel, pressure for quick results without time to train, attrition is taking its toll. There is a need to gear down from 130 – 140 km/h to the manageable 90 – 100 km/h. We are still speeding, sometimes over the limit, but within a zone that allows us to ask ourselves what we want and how we want to do things.
- 2. In some industries, especially in the creative industries, but also in the liberal professions, the distancing during the pandemic and remote working has given employees what they did NOT have before: those moments of solitude. It’s like when, most of the time, you meet other people, but you don’t have time to meet yourself. For these people, the idea of freelancing or part-time work in one field combined with freelancing in another field has become the way to connect with themselves, to access roles that they had previously not imagined as a realistic option. Why? In many people’s minds, working in one industry full-time was the only scenario. Transferring to other fields, even part-time, was not a realistic scenario. Today, it is.
- 3. The Over 50s – „the classics alive”, who are used to work hard, the concept of work-life balance is new to them, they are used to effort and long working hours, they have independent children, as such the job remains the main component of their life. Some have begun to have the detachment that comes from having lived through maturity and the sum of their experiences. They know their value, they have fought for recognition, they are beginning to see things with a certain detachment, they operate easily with older but also new concepts, they have a wide range of experiences, from crises to periods of peak performance, they can easily train the people around them.
Another part of this segment of employees are still struggling within companies, lacking the recognition of the value they bring through their work, which makes them increasingly bitter. For them, financial packages mirror the added value they bring to the company. They also struggle with themselves to balance their lives so that their job is only a part, not their whole life.
Let’s recognise the value of these people, for whom competitive financial packages, promotion in the company and status are important. An additional argument is the demographic structure in Romania, which gives the following figures (source INSE):
- Baby Boomers (1946-1964) 4.1 million people
- Generation X (1965-1980) 4.5 million people
- Generation Y (1981-1996) 3.9 million people
- Generation Z (1997-2010) 2.8 million people
- Generation Alpha (2011-present) 2.1 million people
We are dwindling in the labour market, so every person becomes important and unique. Let’s not miss opportunities!
- 4. Another type of job seeker we find in the labour market is someone who takes care of other family members or their own person. Those ‘caregivers’ who look after children, the elderly or their own person. They need flexibility in defining their schedule – hours, but also number of hours, location of work, home or office – being very keen on benefit packages that help them in their role as ‘caregivers‘ – health packages, daycare, after-school, etc. This is also the segment of people who, having multiple roles, are under greater pressure and risk of burnout, so mental health packages are highly valued. They are interested in developing, performing, provided that the job allows them to take care of family members.
- 5. “Newcomers” – new entrants to the labour market, aged 18 to 26, graduates or those nearing graduation, eager to learn, slightly frustrated by an education system defined for the past, not the future, seek to define themselves through the work they do. They don’t focus on salary packages, many still having financial support from family, they seek to define their potential, to develop – they seek work that serves the CAUSE they believe in. The cause can be the environment, education, health, circular economy, supporting communities, which also has a motivational value for them. In such roles they meet other people who believe in the same cause, and together they define a strong culture of belonging, whether we are talking about a company, an NGO or a start-up.
The labour market is changing, it is becoming more diverse, and within this reality we need to remove the barriers at the back of our minds, such as: “they are too young to perform”, “they need minimum 3 years to train in our field”, “people over 50 can’t adapt in this industry”, “we work minimum 8 hours a day”.
Flexibility is becoming the main need in the market from the perspective of working people. Flexibility in terms of the job scenarios in which we work, but also in our minds, in terms of the profiles of people working in the labour market.
In this whole picture, companies still have performance indicators related to productivity per employee, cost per unit produced, cost of sales process, etc. – many quantitative indicators, few qualitative ones. It’s a process we all have to go through. Just as the GDP per capita is no longer sufficient to reflect the economic development of a country. It does not reflect quality of life, so now we are also looking at the Human Development Index (HDI) – (which includes life expectancy, years of schooling, gross national income per capita), the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) – (which includes social and environmental factors), the Better Life Index or the Inclusive Wealth Index.
We need the legislation to be updated in line with market needs. The latest legislative changes go against the idea of flexibility. It is easy to see how out of touch our government is with the reality of the market, changing and sanctioning this very flexibility through additional taxes. So let’s not forget to be in touch with their reality when they ask for our vote in 2024.
We sometimes tend to say that change is “about them”. NO, CHANGE IS ABOUT US ALL, we each contribute with the openness in our minds, but also with the brakes put on others, out of a desire to stay in the zone where we know and feel we can control everything.