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Study warns of electrical engineer exodus to Germany

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According to a fresh study reported in economic daily Világgazdaság today, the German economy will need an additional 100,000 electrical engineers in the next decade, over and above experts newly qualified at home. This, notes online portal index.hu, may lead to an intensification in the brain drain from Hungary.

The worrying study was prepared by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW), commissioned by the German Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE) with the cooperation of the  Association of German Engineers (VDI). The studyʼs main conclusion was that over the next decade freshly graduated electrical engineers in Germany will not be able to satisfy domestic demand by 2026, which index.hu notes may have major implications for Hungary, itself struggling with a labor shortage.

According to the IW study, the trend of increasing demand over the past decade for electrical engineers and IT specialists will only intensify in the next ten years, with new technologies creating need in sectors where none was present before. This need has so far been satisfied mainly by employing engineers from abroad: by 2013, the proportion of foreign electrical engineers already reached 10.8% of the total.

Csaba Kilián, acting general secretary of the Association of the Hungarian Automotive Industry (MAGE), told Világgazdaság that "the figure of 100,000 presumably also includes all engineers, within which – thanks to automation and digitalization – IT experts may be predominant."

At the same time, the future growing demand of German firms is in itself a cause of anxiety for Hungarian companies, particularly for those in the auto industry in northwest Hungary, where they must already battle with neighboring Slovakian firms for labor.

According to Kilián, one positive consequence of the increasing demand abroad is that the wages of engineers in Hungary are beginning to catch up as competition increases.

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