Hays Hungary: a Talented Team's 15-year Rise to the Top


Tammy Nagy-Stellini

In August, Hays celebrated 15 years in Hungary. The Budapest Business Journal spoke with managing director Tammy Nagy-Stellini about coming top among recruitment agencies in the Book of Lists, candidate attraction, staying competitive in an uncertain economic climate, and the adaptability of businesses.

BBJ: Congratulations on Hays Hungary coming top among Recruitment agencies in the Book of Lists for the first time this year. To what do you attribute this success?

Tammy Nagy-Stellini: Thank you. A business is about its people, and I have a very talented and dedicated team. All the hard work we have been putting in has got us to the top. We have been here for 15 years and have grown the business by building long-term partnerships with clients and candidates. We also continue to offer new services. Fifteen years ago, we were just five people working in permanent recruitment. Now we also offer contracting, temporary staffing, RPO [recruitment process outsourcing], salary benchmarking, employer branding, and various consultancy services. We have kept pace with what the market needed.

BBJ: We have inflation (and thus pressure on wages), near full employment, and an energy crisis simultaneously, plus COVID still lurking and the possibility of a new wave arriving this winter. Is this the most challenging environment you have ever known in which to do business?

TN-S: These are indeed “interesting times.” Looking back over the past 15 years, the expansion of Hays Hungary has been accelerating continuously. And we are still growing today. Almost every month, we achieve record-breaking results; however, due to the uncertainty felt within the market, even more emphasis is being put on observing the market dynamics shaping our clients’ hiring plans. Most clients continue to hire, although some are waiting to see what will happen. We continue to prepare, to plan ahead so we can act early and be there for our candidates and clients. In the upcoming months, we’ll see if the recession will happen at the beginning of next year and to what extent it impacts us.

BBJ: What are your expectations for this year and next? How will Hays hold on to its number one position?

TN-S: Up to this autumn, hiring has not slowed down in any industry we operate in. Looking to 2023, we are curious to see how the market changes. We’ll continue keeping our standards in terms of service quality and continue to develop our strategic partnerships with our candidates and clients. And, of course, putting our people and the team itself in focus.

BBJ: What are the most significant trends shaping the recruitment market?

TN-S: With inflation affecting salaries, it seems some can adapt more quickly than others, but there is only so far you can continually offer higher wages. According to our latest Hays Market Trends study, many organizations have already increased salaries throughout the year and are now looking to plan their next steps for the beginning of 2023.

In today’s market, it is imperative to retain staff by being close to your people. You certainly want to keep the best talent within your organization, given the labor scarcity in almost all sectors. Employer branding has gained a much more critical role. Companies need to stand out and differentiate themselves from the competition. Employers must become attractive to passive candidates and engage job seekers by offering flexible working solutions and a competitive benefits package.

Contracting as a form of employment is becoming more widespread. The flexibility offered by contracting is much appreciated both by clients and freelancers. Some of our clients, mainly in technology, already have a staff population of 70% employees vs. 30% contractors. And at the end of the project, it can be decided to extend, part ways, or employ the contractor permanently. There is also a growing demand for temporary staff to take on specific projects. This form of employment gives companies flexibility and allows them to outsource all related administrative duties.

Companies are increasingly nearshoring positions to Eastern Europe, especially in technology and business services. Their HR teams are seeking alternative ways to support hiring plans and looking for strategic recruitment partners that offer both expertise and consulting. As a result, clients ever more outsource their recruitment.

Lastly, an interesting new trend is that technology candidates would prefer getting their salary in euros or another stable currency. However, Hungarian labor law doesn’t allow wages to be set or paid in anything other than Hungarian forints. We also see more one-off signing bonuses for new hires. In the engineering sector, some companies are even building flats in the countryside for employees, rather than renting accommodation, thereby offering more possibilities for relocation.

BBJ: We have heard from HR managers who say if they find a talented candidate, they will offer them a job first and then work out the role. 

TN-S: Absolutely. With so much competition for talent, you need to act fast. Employers have recognized the need to reduce the number of interviews, to make the hiring process quicker and secure the best talent as quickly as possible.

BBJ: What could the government do to make business easier for your sector?

TN-S: Further governmental measures to attract candidates, where there is a skills scarcity on the market, could make the employment process quicker for jobseekers from outside the EU and, therefore, generate more available workforce in Hungary.

BBJ: What is your advice to businesses to ensure they get the best talents?

TN-S: Employer branding is vital to get onto the radar of candidates and stand out among competitors. According to our latest Salary Guide study, we’ve seen that, beyond offering a competitive compensation package, employers also need to provide a healthy work-life balance, flexible working solutions, and professional development opportunities to attract the best talent. Also, it is key for a company to take care of its employees since this is portrayed on the market and is part of building a strong employer brand.

You need to be up to date with what is happening in the market to ensure your strategy is aligned. That is why salary benchmarking and HR consultancy is so important.

BBJ: What would be your advice to those children who started secondary school or university this September? Where they have the choice, what should they be studying?

TN-S: Study what you really love. At a conference about five years ago, a colleague from Hays asked a futurist the best foreign language for children to learn. The futurist said, “Coding!” Tech is obviously a good area to go into if you are interested in that; I do believe the demand for tech skills will remain.

According to a recent study, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in entirely new jobs that do not yet exist. You must develop the ability to adapt to change, new technologies, and new markets.

To university students, I would say you need to get into the mindset of being a life-long learner. Never stop being curious. Whatever you are studying, be interested in other areas, take part-time jobs, and ask questions. Be inquisitive.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of October 7, 2022.

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