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The Labor Market in Romania: An In-Depth Analysis

Stefan-Lucian Deleanu


Concept and Characteristics of the Romanian Labor Market

The labor market in Romania is a dynamic and ever-changing landscape, shaped by various factors such as economic growth, social policies, and globalization. Understanding its concept and characteristics is essential for both employers and job seekers looking to navigate this complex environment successfully.

Definition of the labor market in Romania

The Romanian labor market is composed of all individuals who are actively seeking employment and willing to work, as well as all employment opportunities available at any given time. According to the National Institute of Statistics, the labor force in Romania was estimated at approximately 8.7 million in 2020. The majority of the labor force is concentrated in the urban areas, with 57.2% of employed individuals living in cities, while 42.8% reside in rural areas.

Key sectors contributing to the economy and employment

The Romanian economy is diverse, with various sectors contributing significantly to employment and economic growth. The main sectors driving employment are agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and services. According to Eurostat, in 2019, the services sector accounted for 63.3% of GDP, followed by industry (28.5%) and agriculture (7.3%). In terms of employment, the largest sector is services, followed by industry and agriculture.

The role of government policies in shaping the labor market

The Romanian government has implemented various policies to improve the labor market's functioning, including measures to increase employment rates, reduce unemployment rates, and improve working conditions. A notable policy initiative is the National Employment Strategy 2021-2025, which aims to promote sustainable and inclusive job creation by addressing skills mismatches, improving labor force participation rates, and supporting vulnerable groups such as youth and people with disabilities.

Demographic trends such as aging population, low birth rates, and emigration have been affecting the Romanian workforce significantly. A study by the World Bank highlighted that Romania's population has been declining since 1990, and the number of people aged 15-64 years old has been decreasing as well. This trend poses significant challenges for the Romanian labor market, including labor shortages, skills mismatches, and pressure on social security systems.

The impact of globalization on the Romanian labor market

Globalization has significantly impacted the Romanian labor market, with both positive and negative effects. On the one hand, globalization has facilitated the growth of export-oriented industries and increased workforce competitiveness. On the other hand, it has also led to job losses in certain sectors due to increased competition from foreign firms. The World Bank highlighted that Romania's integration into the European Union has facilitated labor mobility, with many Romanians seeking employment opportunities abroad.

Education and skills development in relation to the labor market

Education and skills development are essential for individuals seeking employment in the Romanian labor market. According to Eurostat, in 2019, around 21% of the Romanian population aged 25-64 had tertiary education, which is below the EU average of 32%. Many employers in Romania have identified skills mismatches as a significant challenge when recruiting new employees. The government has implemented various measures to address this issue, including promoting vocational education and training programs and supporting lifelong learning.

Labor migration has been a significant trend in Romania's labor market since the country's accession to the European Union. According to Eurostat, Romania had the highest emigration rate in the EU in 2019, with 17.2 emigrants per 1000 inhabitants. The main destinations for Romanian emigrants are Germany, Italy, and Spain. While labor migration can benefit both sending and receiving countries by reducing unemployment rates and filling skill shortages, it can also have negative effects such as brain drain and social fragmentation.

In conclusion, understanding the concept and characteristics of the Romanian labor market is essential for both employers and job seekers. Demographic trends, government policies, education and skills development, and globalization are some of the significant factors that are shaping the labor market. While the challenges are significant, the government's policies and private sector initiatives are working towards a more sustainable and inclusive labor market. However, addressing skills mismatches, reducing emigration rates, and improving working conditions will require continued effort and investment.


Functioning of the Romanian Labor Market

To better comprehend how the labor market operates in Romania, it's crucial to explore its various components, including supply and demand, wage levels, and employment legislation. This understanding can help businesses make informed decisions about talent acquisition and management.

Labor supply and demand dynamics in Romania

According to the National Institute of Statistics, Romania's active labor force participation rate is approximately 60%, which is lower compared to other European Union countries. The country has a population of about 19.5 million people, and approximately 53% of them are employed. The employment rate is highest among those aged between 25 and 54 years. Despite the relatively high unemployment rate of approximately 5%, many employers still struggle to find qualified workers. This can be attributed to mismatches between the skills possessed by job seekers and the types of skills employers seek.

Factors influencing wage levels and salary expectations

The average net salary in Romania was approximately €538 in 2020, which is still below the European Union average. The level of education, experience, industry, and location are among the factors that significantly impact wage levels. In Romania, senior employees are paid significantly more than younger employees doing similar work. Also, gender pay gaps are still prevalent in the country, with women earning less than men for doing similar jobs.

Employment legislation governing labor relations and worker protection

The Romanian labor law is very comprehensive and provides workers with numerous rights and protections. This includes minimum wage requirements, maximum working hours per week, sick leave, maternity leave, severance pay, among others. Employers must adhere to strict labor laws when hiring employees to ensure they don't engage in any form of discrimination or unfair practices.

Role of trade unions in representing workers' interests

Trade unions play an essential role in representing workers' interests in Romania. There are many trade union organizations operating in various industries across the country. They assist in collective bargaining, dispute resolution, and ensuring that employers adhere to labor laws. Despite their importance, union membership in Romania is relatively low compared to other European countries.

Challenges faced by employers in attracting and retaining talent

A common challenge faced by employers in Romania is attracting and retaining the right talent. Many companies struggle to find the right candidates for positions that require specialized skills. Also, the low wages offered in some industries can make it challenging to attract and retain top talent. Another significant challenge for businesses is the high rate of labor turnover, which can lead to increased HR time and costs to constantly hire and train new staff.

Impact of technology on job creation and displacement

The introduction of new technologies can have both positive and negative impacts on the labor market. In Romania, technology has led to job displacement in some industries, such as manufacturing, where automation has decreased the demand for human labor. However, technology has also created new jobs in other industries, such as IT, where the demand for workers continues to increase.

Unemployment rates and government support for job seekers

Despite Romania's relatively high unemployment rate of approximately 5%, the government provides support for job seekers through various programs. The National Agency for Employment provides a wide range of services aimed at helping unemployed people find work. The government also offers subsidies to businesses that hire unemployed individuals.

In conclusion, understanding how Romania's labor market operates is crucial for businesses looking to acquire and manage talent effectively. Despite some challenges, such as a lack of skilled workers and low wages in some industries, Romania's labor market provides a comprehensive framework for ensuring worker protection and fair labor practices. With the right approach to recruitment, retention, and training, Romanian businesses can successfully navigate the country's complex labor market landscape.


As with any evolving landscape, it is important to anticipate future trends that will impact the Romanian labor market. By analyzing these trends, businesses and individuals can prepare themselves for upcoming changes and capitalize on new opportunities.

The Growing Importance of Soft Skills Assessments in Recruitment Processes

As the world becomes more connected and automated, the importance of soft skills is increasing. Soft skills refer to a person's ability to work well with others, communicate effectively, solve problems creatively, and think critically. While technical skills are still important, employers are realizing that soft skills are necessary for a successful and productive workforce. According to a report by LinkedIn, 92% of talent professionals believe that soft skills are just as important (if not more important) than hard skills when it comes to hiring. As a result, businesses are beginning to incorporate soft skill assessments into their recruitment processes. This trend is expected to continue as employers recognize the value of employees who can work well in a team and adapt to changing circumstances.

The Shift Towards Alternative Workforces, Such as Freelancers and Part-Time Employees

Traditionally, labor market participation meant working a full-time job with benefits. However, in recent years, companies have been moving towards alternative workforces such as freelancers and part-time employees. According to a report by Eurofound, 15% of employees in Romania are part-time workers. The rise of alternative workforces can be attributed to various factors such as the need for flexibility in an increasingly fast-paced world. Additionally, it can be more cost-effective for companies to hire freelancers or part-time employees rather than full-time workers with benefits. This trend is expected to continue as technology enables remote work and a shift towards a gig economy where individuals work multiple "jobs" or projects simultaneously.

Emergence of "Superjobs" Requiring a Combination of Technical, Cognitive, and Social Skills

With the rise of technology, the traditional job market is being disrupted. Jobs are becoming more complex and specialized, and require a combination of technical, cognitive, and social skills. This has led to the emergence of "superjobs" which involve a range of different skills and aptitudes. According to a report by McKinsey, "superjobs" require cognitive skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking, technical skills such as programming and data analysis, and social skills such as communication and leadership. As technology continues to advance and automate certain tasks, it is expected that more jobs will fall into the "superjob" category.

The Evolution of Leadership Styles in the 21st Century

As the workforce becomes more diverse and complex, leadership styles are evolving. Traditionally, leadership was hierarchal with a top-down approach. However, with the rise of a knowledge-based economy and a need for creative problem-solving, leadership styles are becoming more collaborative and inclusive. According to a report by Forbes, "transformational leadership" is becoming more popular in the 21st century. This involves inspiring and motivating employees to achieve their goals rather than commanding them what to do. This trend is expected to continue as younger generations enter the workforce who value autonomy and purpose over hierarchy.

The Implications of Economic, Social, and Political Disruptions on the Labor Market

The Romanian labor market has been disrupted by various factors such as economic downturns, social unrest, and political instability. COVID-19 has also had a significant impact on the labor market as companies have had to adjust to remote work and various restrictions. According to a report by The World Bank, Romania's GDP growth rate is expected to be -5.1% in 2020 due to COVID-19. Disruptions in the labor market can lead to job losses, lower salaries and benefits, and decreased economic activity. However, disruptions can also create new opportunities for innovation and growth.

The Role of Technology in Shaping the Future of Work in Romania

Technology is changing the way we work and the types of jobs available. According to a report by IDC, digital transformation in Romania is expected to create 200,000 new jobs by 2025. This will involve a range of new skills such as data analytics, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. Additionally, technology is enabling remote work and creating a need for new types of jobs such as virtual event planners and digital marketers. It is expected that technology will continue to transform the labor market in Romania as companies adopt new technologies and adapt to a changing world.

To adapt to the changing trends in the Romanian labor market, companies need to be flexible and forward-thinking. Strategies for adaptation include investing in employee training, embracing alternative workforces such as freelancers and part-time employees, incorporating soft skill assessments into recruitment processes, and adopting new technologies. Additionally, companies need to be aware of disruptions and be prepared to pivot when necessary. By being proactive and adaptable, companies can position themselves for success in a rapidly changing world.

In conclusion, the Romanian labor market is evolving rapidly due to various factors such as technological advancement, economic disruptions, and changes in leadership styles. To succeed in this changing landscape, businesses and individuals need to be adaptable and informed. By understanding these trends and planning for the future, we can create a workforce that is resilient, productive, and innovative.


Best Practices for Talent Acquisition in the Romanian Labor Market

In a competitive labor market like Romania's, it's vital for companies to employ effective talent acquisition strategies. This section will discuss various best practices that can help businesses attract, select, and retain top talent.

The Importance of Employer Branding in Attracting Candidates

Employer branding is an essential factor that can make or break the success of talent acquisition efforts. A strong employer brand helps companies stand out from competitors and attract top candidates. According to a study by LinkedIn, 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agreed that employer branding had a significant impact on hiring. In Romania, companies can differentiate themselves by showcasing their unique company culture, values, and employee benefits. Employers should prioritize employee feedback and involvement in the branding process to ensure authenticity. A strong employer brand can also lead to higher retention rates by increasing employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Leveraging Technology for Efficient Recruitment Processes

In today's digital age, recruiting technology plays a crucial role in candidate attraction and selection. Companies can leverage various recruiting software, such as applicant tracking systems (ATS), to streamline recruitment processes and improve the candidate experience. According to a survey by the HR Research Institute Romania, more than 50% of Romanian companies use online platforms as their primary recruitment channel. These platforms include job boards, social media platforms, and professional networks like LinkedIn. By using technology to automate repetitive tasks like pre-screening and scheduling interviews, recruiters have more time to focus on interacting with candidates and evaluating their qualifications.

The Role of Probation Periods in Evaluating Potential Hires

Probation periods are a standard practice in Romania's labor market, with most companies offering a three- or six-month period for new hires. During this time, new employees receive on-the-job training and are evaluated based on their performance and fit within the company culture. Probationary periods provide employers with an opportunity to assess employees' skills, work ethic, and behavior before making a long-term commitment. This practice can also benefit candidates, allowing them to experience the company's culture and values and decide if the job is the right fit for them.

Conducting Informal Meetings to Assess Candidates' Personalities and Cultural Fit

While evaluating candidates' job-related skills is critical, it's also essential to assess their personalities and cultural fit within the company. Holding informal meetings with candidates, such as coffee meetings or lunches, can give recruiters insight into a candidate's personality, interests, and values. These interactions also provide candidates with an opportunity to learn more about the company culture and ask questions about the job. When candidates feel comfortable and valued during their interactions with recruiters and hiring managers, they're more likely to accept job offers.

Developing an Attractive Compensation and Benefits Package

Offering an attractive compensation and benefits package is essential in attracting and retaining top talent in Romania's labor market. According to the Salary Explorer website, the average salary in Romania is around 6,980 RON per month. Companies should research industry standards to ensure their offers are competitive. In addition to salary, other components of compensation packages can include health insurance, retirement plans, stock options, and employee development programs. Companies that provide these benefits signal their commitment to employee well-being and career development.

Investing in Employee Training and Development Programs

Offering training and development programs is essential in retaining top talent in Romania's labor market. According to the Labor Market Studies in Romania document, investing in people is necessary for organizations to succeed and compete in the market. Companies should provide their employees with training opportunities to improve their skills and advance their careers within the company. These programs can include on-the-job training, leadership development, mentorship programs, or subsidized education opportunities. By investing in their employees' growth and development, companies can create a culture of continuous learning that fosters innovation and productivity.

Fostering a Positive Company Culture to Retain Talent

Creating a positive company culture is essential in attracting and retaining top talent in Romania's labor market. Employees who feel valued, respected, and supported are more likely to stay with their employers long-term and be more productive. According to a study by the Romanian HR Club, positive company culture can lead to increased employee engagement and reduced turnover rates. Companies should prioritize creating an inclusive environment that promotes teamwork, open communication, and work-life balance. By fostering a positive company culture, companies can create a competitive advantage by attracting top talent and retaining their current workforce.

In conclusion, companies that implement best practices in talent acquisition are better equipped to attract, select, and retain top talent in Romania's competitive labor market. By focusing on employer branding, leveraging technology, utilizing probation periods, conducting informal meetings, offering competitive compensation packages, investing in training programs, and fostering a positive company culture, companies can create long-term success and growth.


Challenges and Opportunities in the Romanian Labor Market

The Romanian labor market presents both challenges and opportunities for employers and job seekers alike. By understanding these factors, stakeholders can make informed decisions about their career or business strategies.

High levels of emigration leading to a shrinking workforce

One of the critical challenges in the Romanian labor market is the high levels of emigration. According to a 2019 UN report, Romania lost approximately 3.4 million people between 2007 and 2019, representing about 17% of the total population. The migration trend has led to depopulation and a shrinking workforce, which has had a significant impact on various sectors of the economy. For instance, Romania's construction industry has experienced severe labor shortages, which have led to project delays and increased construction costs.

Mismatch between available jobs and skill sets of job seekers

Another major challenge in the Romanian labor market is the mismatch between available jobs and skill sets of job seekers. Although Romania has a large pool of talented and highly educated individuals, many are not equipped with the necessary skills to meet the demands of the job market. This skills gap has led to a significant number of unfilled positions and employers struggling to find qualified candidates.

Difficulty in attracting foreign investment due to bureaucratic obstacles

The Romanian labor market faces significant barriers to foreign investment due to bureaucratic obstacles. Romania ranks poorly in various international business rankings for ease of doing business, with complicated tax systems, burdensome regulations, and inefficient administrative procedures. These factors have made it difficult for foreign investors to enter the Romanian market, limiting employment opportunities.

The potential for growth in sectors such as IT, renewable energy, and tourism

Despite these challenges, there are numerous opportunities for growth in several sectors of the Romanian economy. The country has experienced significant growth in sectors such as IT, renewable energy, and tourism over recent years. The IT sector is one of Romania's most promising sectors due to the country's highly skilled workforce and low labor costs.

Opportunities for upskilling and reskilling the workforce to meet future demands

To address the skills gap, the Romanian government has taken various initiatives to promote upskilling and reskilling of the workforce. One such initiative is the "NEETs in IT" program, aimed at providing IT training and employment opportunities for young people not in education, employment, or training. Additionally, various multinational corporations have opened training centers in Romania aimed at upskilling their employees or providing employment opportunities.

Government initiatives aimed at addressing labor market challenges

The Romanian government has also implemented several initiatives aimed at addressing labor market challenges. The "First job" program, for instance, provides subsidies to companies that hire young job seekers with limited work experience. Additionally, Romania has implemented legislation that aims to address labor market discrimination through affirmative action measures in hiring and promotion.

The role of entrepreneurship in job creation and economic growth

Entrepreneurship has become an essential factor in job creation and economic growth in Romania. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for a significant portion of employment opportunities in Romania, with SMEs representing 99% of all enterprises in the country. Furthermore, the Romanian government has implemented various initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and supporting SMEs.

In conclusion, the Romanian labor market presents both challenges and opportunities for employers and job seekers alike. While the high levels of emigration and skills gap need to be addressed, sectors such as IT, renewable energy, tourism, and entrepreneurship offer exciting growth prospects for the country. The government's initiatives aimed at addressing labor market challenges demonstrate a commitment to improving employment prospects while supporting economic growth. By understanding these challenges and opportunities, stakeholders can make informed decisions about their career or business strategies.