Factories in Romania have lost nearly half a million employees in the last 25 years

Factories in Romania have lost nearly half a million employees in the last 25 years

Currently, 1.09 million Romanians work in the manufacturing industry, whereas in the year 2000 their number was 1.56 million.

Romanian factories have lost nearly 500,000 employees in the last 25 years, according to calculations by ZF based on data from the Romanian Institute of Statistics (INS).

In Romania, several factors influence the stability of the manufacturing industry. Firstly, supply chain disruptions, which peaked during the pandemic, still affect the industry. Therefore, when producers cannot secure the raw materials they need, it can lead to a reduction in employees' working hours.


The salaries paid by companies in the industry have increased in recent years but are still below the economy's average. The average net salary in the manufacturing industry reached 4,325 lei (865 euros) in February 2024, up by 11% compared to the same month last year. For comparison, the average net salary in the economy reached nearly 4,900 lei in the second month of this year, up by just over 14% year-on-year.

One of the factors that have led to increases in factory workers' salaries is the long-standing labor shortage faced by companies in this sector.


Data from the INS shows that in the last quarter of 2023, the majority of job vacancies in the local economy were in the manufacturing industry, over 7,800.

"The manufacturing industry emphasizes the human aspect, in the sense that its specific operations cannot be replaced by robots to a large extent.

They need skilled personnel in certain professions who can operate machinery and adapt to the work environment.

Unfortunately, the lack of an educational framework where young people can learn a trade and acquire qualifications in this regard is an additional reason why the manufacturing industry has the most job vacancies," said Cătălin Ciupag, branch manager at the recruitment company Prohuman Romania.


    Sorina Faier, managing partner at the recruitment company Elite Searchers, argues that the labor force issue in Romania's manufacturing industry is quite complex and has multiple causes.

    Firstly, a part of this labor shortage can be attributed to migration to other countries where working conditions or salaries are more attractive.

    "Secondly, there is a lack of adapting education and vocational training to the real demands of the labor market, leading to a shortage of qualified workers in this industry. Additionally, another factor contributing to this problem is the rapid technological change in the manufacturing industry, requiring new skills and qualifications that many employees do not possess," she stated.

    The top 20 companies in the manufacturing industry had a cumulative turnover of nearly 145 billion lei (29 billion euros) in 2022, up by 28% compared to the previous year, once again stepping on the accelerator after a 2021 that brought a slowdown due to the raw material crisis, according to an analysis by ZF based on data from the Trade Register.

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