Hungary Experiences Rapid Brain Business Jobs Growth


Hungary has experienced strong growth in so-called brain business jobs over the past years, with a growth rate more than three times that of the United Kingdom and five times that of France, according to research by ECEPR made with support from Nordic Capital.

Since 2014, the share of adults employed in brain business jobs in Hungary has increased by 51%. These are jobs in knowledge-intensive occupations, that are of essential importance in the modern economy. The rate of progress is impressive compared to 16% in the United Kingdom and 9% in France.

The index by ECEPR, with support from Nordic Capital, measures the share of the working-age population across Europe employed in highly knowledge-intensive enterprises, in 31 countries and 277 regions.

“The brain business jobs of Europe are increasingly growing in Southern and Eastern Europe. The capital regions of Southern Europe, including France, have 600,000 more brain business jobs than the Western European capital regions. Eastern European capital regions have twice as many brain business jobs compared to the Nordic capital regions”, explains Nima Sanandaji, director of ECEPR.

Klas Tikkanen, chief operating officer at Nordic Capital Advisors, adds, “There is a general trend in Europe in which those countries that have experienced the strongest growth of brain business jobs, per capita, tend to be those that have lower tax levels as share of GDP. Just above a third of the variation of growth rate in these knowledge-intensive jobs can be explained in the variance in the tax level. Competitive taxes are a key ingredient in fostering knowledge-intensive jobs growth”.

Tech Sector Going Strong

Out of the working-age population in Hungary, 2.8% are employed in the tech sector. Additionally, 2.4% work in IT and communications, while 1.6% are employed in advanced services and 1.2% in creative professions. In total 8.1% of adults in Hungary are employed in brain business jobs. This gives the country an 11th place in a European ranking. The capital region of Budapest has the highest share of brain business jobs than any other of the 277 European regions, for the first time surpassing Bratislava for the number one European spot.

The concentration of knowledge-intensive jobs is highest in Switzerland, where fully 10.7% of the population is employed in brain business jobs. Sweden climbs back to second place after last year being surpassed by Ireland. Ireland has 10% of adults employed in brain business jobs, nearly the same as 10.1% in Sweden.

Compared to the rest of Europe Hungary has strength in high-tech manufacturing, research & development, as well as in design & other creative professions. Hungary lags behind the rest of Europe in telecommunications, publishing, and advertising & market research. The share of employment in high-tech manufacturing is above twice the European average.

Budapest Registers Highest Brain Business Jobs per Capita

Some four out of 10 top brain business jobs regions are found in Eastern Europe, three in Western, two in the Nordics, and one in Southern Europe

In all previous editions of this index, the Slovakian capital region of Bratislava has had the highest concentration of brain business jobs per capita. This year Budapest climbs to the number one spot, followed by Bratislava and Prague in third place. Oberbayern, Paris, Stockholm, the Oxford region (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire), Copenhagen, London, and Bucharest are the other top-10 regions.

The full brain business jobs report is available on the ECEPR webpage here,

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