Hungary, located in the centre of Europe, is a country inhabited by only ten million people. Its capital, Budapest, is one of the most visited cities in Europe and the centre of the country’s political, economic and cultural life. Recruitment in this country has some characteristics that you need to be aware of before looking for talent. Csaba Varga, our recruitment specialist in this territory, reveals everything you need to know to understand the Hungarian labour market.

Csaba, it’s a pleasure to talk to you. We would like to start this interview by finding out what are the main difficulties in recruiting in your country.

The truth is that it depends very much on the location and the profile of the company. Most Hungarian employees already have a job so the hiring company has to offer better working conditions or a higher salary in the market if they want to be successful.

Is the Hungarian labour market receptive to change, or is it perhaps more conservative?

The Hungarian labour market is very flexible, I would even say one of the most flexible in Europe. 

What are the most developed sectors in Hungary?

The most developed sectors are IT (especially in Budapest), logistics, automotive, pharmaceuticals, food industry and construction.

And what are the most in-demand professions?

I would say that technical profiles in construction and manufacturing, IT developers and engineers are the most demanded professions. 

What are the peculiarities of the labour market in Hungary?

The willingness to relocate is very low in Hungary, salaries are increasing by 8-15% per year, but still at a much lower level compared to Western Europe. 

How do you retain talent in the Hungarian market?

To retain talent, companies must offer the possibility of teleworking, flexible working or salary increases.

In Hungary, are there any prejudices in the labour market when it comes to hiring non-local candidates?

Yes, there are some prejudices, although it is true that in the last two or three years this aspect has been decreasing. More and more Ukrainians are coming to Hungary to work, Budapest is quite international. 

How many days of holiday are there by law per year?

20 days are the minimum days by law, but they increase between 1 and 16 days depending on different aspects such as age, number of children, etc. 

Is the labour market highly skilled?

Yes, it is. Although there are big differences within the country, there are a lot of unskilled people in the outskirts, but the educational level is highly qualified, especially in IT, engineering and logistics. 

What would you say is the proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises or family businesses versus large companies or multinationals?

In Hungary the number of family businesses is higher than large companies. 

What are the latest developments in legislation affecting human resources?

Home Office Legislation has been passed in which the employer has to pay a part of the overhead costs to the employee (~16.000 HUF).

We are giving a good overview of the characteristics of the labour market. Csaba, now for companies, what are the most common notice periods in your country when a candidate announces that he/she is leaving? 

It is usual to give 30 days’ notice. However, for key positions, the notice period is between 60 and 90 days.

Would you say that companies have a very strong corporate culture? 

No, only large companies do. 

What are the main aspects a company should be aware of before considering recruiting candidates in Hungary?

Salary levels are quite confidential in Hungary. The basis for recruiting the best candidates is to identify the right salary range.

What advice would you give to our clients with a subsidiary in your country, or to those who are planning to open one?

I would tell them to pay attention to salary increases, they can lose their best employees for a pittance. Always have direct communication with your employees, even to report negative things. Seek contact with training institutions. And, in case of opening a subsidiary, choose the location wisely.

When hiring a candidate, what is most valued in companies?

Experience is what is most valued when hiring in my country. 

Csaba, what are the skills most in demand locally?

IT development skills, electrical engineering and electrical secondary education.

And what is more common, temporary hiring or permanent hiring?

Permanent employment. In Hungary temporary employment is common at an unskilled level. 

In companies, is there union pressure or wage tables by agreements? Or, on the contrary, do they follow the free market?

In Hungary trade unions are very weak, they only have influence in big companies. The minimum wage is defined annually by the government, affecting also the free market.

Is flexible working in companies common? 

Yes, flexible work is quite common.

How has the human resources area experienced a global pandemic like the one we have experienced?

More processes have been done online than before (meetings, interviews, conferences, etc.). In addition, labour leasing services have been cut back a lot as a result of Covid-19.

Csaba, do companies receive any kind of recruitment aid?

No, they do not.

How do candidates search for jobs and do they use social networks or job portals to do so? 

It depends on the level of the job, for example, unskilled candidates use Facebook or look for traditional paper advertisements. However, the educated and skilled workforce uses, in addition to social media, job portals such as LinkedIn.

What do candidates value most when looking for a job?

Location, salary, flexible working hours and telecommuting options are most valued by candidates.

What does it mean for local talent to work for a Spanish company, and is it attractive?

In Hungary there are many foreign companies and there are no big differences between the nationalities of the candidates.

Tell us a bit about education in Hungary, which universities are the most highly valued?  

The most renowned universities are:

  • BME (Engineering and IT), one of the highest standards in the whole region.
  • ELTE (Social Sciences and Humanities), the most valuable education in Hungary.
  • SOTE, SEMMELWEIS (Hospitality), world renowned. 
  • Corvinus University (Economics, Finance and Human Resources). 
  • University of Szeged
  • University of Debrecen 
  • University of Miskolc 

And what types of studies are most valued?

IT, Finance, Logistics and Engineering. 

Csaba, to finish, we would like to hear from you, what do you do to understand what the client expects from our candidate search? 

I always conduct a personal video briefing to understand about the company and the position, talking about all available details.  

And what do you love about recruitment?

I have been working in the recruitment industry in Hungary since 2009. During the last 12 years I have expanded my knowledge about the labour market of my country, salaries, trends, investments. For me, being able to get a candidate to find a good job will always encourage me to keep going.

Are you looking for a recruitment provider for your branches in other countries?

You can read some of our success stories. At binternational we recruit local and expat staff and we centralise our management in Spain for your convenience. Contact us.