Market Talk: Growth is Expected Despite Lingering Uncertainties
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The Budapest Business Journal asked four top players from Budapest-based temp agencies to give us their overview of the trends and challenges in the market in 2022.
BBJ: Can we say we are “post-pandemic?” Are companies hiring temps again?
Zoltán Czellecz: The labor market is extremely tight; employers are fighting hard to mobilize the last available candidates locally and drawing up strategies to relocate candidates within and from beyond the borders of the EU. The pandemic, and its economic consequences, taught employers a painful lesson about the need for a flexible workforce. On the other hand, employees experienced the advantages of legal and fair employment firsthand. These trends support temp employment in general and the honest and reliable players of this market.
Viktor Göltl: At this moment, we are post-pandemic. In Hungary, all of the COVID restrictions are officially over, and, from this point of view, we are back to normal. Companies also hired temporary workers during the pandemic, so there isn’t any particular routine for hiring temps.
Péter Laczi: As the pandemic has subsided, companies have resumed hiring but are more restrained than before the outbreak. Wholesale and retail chains, construction, banking, and IT, technology and communications sectors are preparing for significant headcount recruitment.
Gergely Ujvári: The labor market has continuously changed since the pandemic, and most companies have adapted to the new way of working. Industries such as logistics, e-commerce, and food delivery grew during COVID. There is now massive demand in blue- and white-collar positions in almost every sector. Companies are very willing to hire temporary workers to fill their open positions in a short period and to maintain their flexibility in the long run.
BBJ: Is the war in Ukraine affecting the market?
VG: Yes, the labor market is turbulent, the war affects the supply chain of Ukraine, and the restrictions on Russian goods and services have a negative impact on the global economy, of course.
PL: Even before the Russo-Ukrainian war, there was a drastic labor shortage in Hungary, which the influx of refugees could temporarily alleviate. In many sectors, especially in manufacturing and transport, where there is a shortage of drivers, employing Ukrainians could be a solution. A long-term option is to use labor from Asian countries, to which more companies are showing openness.
GU: The pandemic is not even over, and the war in Ukraine has put the global supply chains in a more difficult situation. The shortage of raw materials and the sanctions have severely affected the automotive and manufacturing industries. Furthermore, dependency on gas and agricultural imports will seriously impact the entire economy.
From the workforce perspective, many think that the more than 4.5 million refugees who fled Ukraine might reduce the labor shortage, which might be somewhat true. However, companies must understand that most of these people are women with children. That means flexible working hours, upskilling and reskilling programs, and being more open to language obstacles to support them in being employed and thus having the chance to stabilize their lives financially.
BBJ: Outside of these factors, what are the most significant trends?
VG: The Hungarian labor market needs blue- and white-collar workers, and the trend is to hire from third countries.
PL: New recruitment methods are needed to locate blue- and white-collar workers. It became a basic requirement in job advertisements to include the company’s name, a detailed description of the duties and the salary. For employees, home office and hybrid work is a basic requirement. This is good because it will also open up new job opportunities for rural workers. More companies are opening up to expectant mothers and disabled workers, making it easier for them to be employed through a cooperative in atypical employment settings. Multi-round job interviews are already less effective, depending on the nature of the position, and the recruitment process should be completed as soon as possible.
GU: Generally, it is challenging in all sectors for companies to find the right quantity and quality of candidates, along with the day-to-day struggles of retaining employees. People are more willing to change jobs now that job security, one of the main factors during the pandemic, is no longer a priority for them. Instead, they seek more attractive salary packages, flexible jobs, and a work-life balance.
BBJ: What are your expectations for the market this year?
ZCz: Having access to several new candidate pools in the Balkans or the APAC region, there are several options to fill the vacancies. Considering this, it’s fair to say that growth should be the story of the year. Assessing the risks endangering this growth, the economic consequences of the Russo-Ukrainian war should be in the first place. We are carefully monitoring developments in the automotive and agricultural industries and have already seen signs of a downturn.
VG: We expect growth this year but under daily changing circumstances.
PL: I hope that growth will continue this year, but this could be influenced by many external factors, ranging from raw material shortages to supply chain vulnerabilities to rising energy prices, all of which will be a major challenge for companies.
GU: In short, a more hectic year can be expected due to the uncertain outcome of the war. However, the current economic outlook shows a positive trend, which, we anticipate, will lead to a growing labor market in 2022.
Our 2022 Temp Agencies Market Talk Panel
• Zoltán Czellecz, CEO, Work Force
• Viktor Göltl, managing director, WHC Group
• Péter Laczi, chief operating officer, Pannon-Work
• Gergely Ujvári, operations director, Adecco
This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of April 22, 2022.
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