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Flexibility key for Attracting and Retaining Talent

A combination of skillsets provided by domestic and foreign universities will pave the way for students to have successful careers, according to the third Competitive Education Conference hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Hungary.


Students give a presentation at the third Competitive Education Conference.

AmCham and the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) launched the Competitive Education Conference in cooperation with Ministry of Human Capacities (EMMI) and the Ministry for National Economy back in 2015 in order to create a dialogue between academia, business and government with the aim of developing Hungary’s long-term labor market competitiveness. Corporate, governmental and education experts and students gathered for the third time this year to discuss those matters in light of three current pieces of research.

Engame Academy was exploring how Hungarian students studying abroad see their future. Data suggests that more than 10,000 are pursuing their studies on foreign soil and their number is growing by 5-10% every year. However, only 40% of them are planning to move back, and 30% have no intention of doing so at all.

The research also found that many respondents left the country in the first place because their area of expertise is underappreciated in Hungary.

PwCʼs latest Employer Brand Research was aimed at helping companies to see what expectations young people have for employers, and which preferences and criteria are important to them when they make decisions about designing their career or choosing their workplace.

The overwhelming majority of respondents ranked flexibility as the most important factor for choosing a workplace, whether it takes the form of telework, flexible working hours, summer internship programs, or the description of a particular job. Mutual trust, continuous feedback and a possibility to learn from each other are also significant elements of the solution. On the other hand, as it turned out, companies rate problem solving skills, the readiness for cooperation and the ability to adapt highest. But they need to accept the fact that the times are gone when it was them setting the terms for employment. Now employees pick the workplace that suits their liking best.

As student participants concluded, gaining experience at a foreign university can work as a springboard and it might serve as great international experience. Yet, nobody will be destined for success just because of that. Students need to work on skills provided by the Hungarian education system such as resilience and self-discipline and soft skills that can rather be mastered abroad. The latter include presentation skills, project and team work and handling digital education tools. The Hungarian educational system needs to embrace the teaching of such skills to better gear up graduates to handle the challenges of a complex modern era jobs.

Findings of the research and the key messages articulated at the conference will be turned into recommendations and communicated to the government by AmCham.