ICT professionals belong to high shortage occupations for Hungary.

Looking at past, current and future trends (3-4 years), a number of occupations have been identified as mismatch priority occupations for Hungary, i.e. they are either in shortage of surplus. Shortage occupation: an occupation that is in short supply of workers, and for which the employers typically face difficulties finding a suitable candidate. Surplus occupation: an occupation for which there are plenty of suitable workers available but low demand. The employers have no problems filling such posts.

The list below is based on an assessment of the labour market of Hungary. The occupations presented are not given any rank. All of them present high mismatch.

Shortage Occupations

ICT professionals [1]

The ICT sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in Hungary, contributing 12% in the country’s GDP annually. [2] At the same time, the number of employees of the sector increased by 20 thousand between 2004 and 2014. [3] The shortages in this occupational group can be explained with respect to the low number of ICT graduates from higher education (only 2.5 thousand people graduated in ICT in 2012 [4]), the lack of interest among young people for ICT-related study as well as high dropout rates during university studies. An additional problem is that the Hungarian education system does not adapt to the rapid changes so as to meet the requirements of the ICT sector. Moreover, teachers in elementary and secondary schools do not have the appropriate knowledge e.g. good ICT experts find better paid job opportunities than those available in teaching. However, there are also problems related to infrastructure [5], for example slow internet connection; use of obsolete devices; low percentage of students in schools with a virtual learning environment. [6] The so-called ‘brain drain’ is another reason for shortages, especially related to those having tertiary degree. Regarding ICT professionals with secondary level education, the shortages can be considered moderate. The number of ICT professionals with secondary level education would be enough to fill many job vacancies in the ICT sector, but in many cases the ICT knowledge level of applicants is not appropriate. [7] There are at least 20 thousand job vacancies in the sector. [8]

A number of measures for tackling with shortages are in place. For instance, dual programmes will start in tertiary education in 2016 including five education fields: ICT, technical, natural science, economic science and agriculture. This means that companies will directly play a role in the provision of education by providing apprenticeship places [9]. Additionally, the National Curriculum puts also significant emphasis on ICT skills in elementary and secondary schools. Regarding tertiary education, the Hungarian Government has raised the number of places on the state-funded ICT programmes at universities and colleges to encourage people to choose ICT fields. Furthermore, in order to reduce shortages, several ICT companies have launched their own training programmes for people with secondary level education. After training, companies provided jobs to participants. [10] The ICT Association of Hungary [11] designs strategies, programmes, events, studies, proposals, research for government and cooperates with other relevant stakeholders to solve the insufficient supply of ICT professionals. [12] The huge labour shortage of ICT professionals can also be reduced by introducing re-training programmes. There are many sectors where over-supply causes many problems, therefore it is important to provide conversion programmes. ICT should be totally integrated into other university/college programmes ICT permeates all sectors. [13] If the shortage is not reduced, Hungary’s competitiveness may suffer in the future. In addition, unfavourable processes taking place in the ICT sector will influence related economic fields as well. [14]

Engineers and natural science professionals [15]

Shortages for such professionals can be explained by the fact that tertiary education cannot ensure the knowledge required by employers. In addition, lack of foreign language skills causes significant difficulties for young graduates entering the labour market. [16] Not only the lack of skills, but also the low number of graduates creates difficulties to employers to fill vacancies. For example, four thousand job vacancies for engineers in the Hungarian labour market were reported for in 2015. [17]

In 2015, the Alliance for the Future Engineers (EJMSZ) [18] with some of the leading companies in the sector (MOL, Audi, Continental, Ericsson, LEGO, NI, etc.) launched a campaign to reduce shortages. The main activities included:

  1. organising programmes in the elementary and the secondary schools,
  2. making social agreements, carrying out surveys,
  3. launching social media activities. [19]

The introduction of dual programmes into higher education could also reduce the shortage of engineers and natural science professionals. Dual programmes for 2016 will be available at certain universities in the fields of ICT, technical, natural sciences, economic sciences, and agriculture.[20] Lack of foreign language skills means a significant difficulty not only among engineers, but also at national level. Therefore, the launch of state supported language training should be considered because significant part of the working age population does not have the opportunity to take part in language training. For example, the state organised language training for tertiary education students in 2015. The target group consisted of those students who have not passed the language exam necessary to acquire their degree.

Health professionals [21]

Due to the ageing of the Hungarian population, the demand for health professionals is constantly increasing. At the same time, the number of employees in the human health services declined from 146 thousand to 120 thousand between 2004 and 2014. [22] Therefore the lack of personnel poses a huge problem in Hungary. [23] The main reasons for shortages refer to: extended working hours, low wages, deteriorating working conditions, and emigration. [24] The latter is one of the most important factors – due to low wages healthcare workers (including medical doctors, nursing and midwifery professionals, other health professionals etc.) have increasingly gone to work abroad. [25] This trend accelerated after joining the European Union and it became more significant after 2010. The emigration was also facilitated by the lifting of temporary labour market restrictions in Germany and Austria. [26] The main target countries where health professionals can obtain better wages and working conditions are: Germany, the UK, Austria and Sweden etc. [27] In addition, few people choose healthcare programmes in secondary level education because these fields became unpopular due to low wages, deteriorating working conditions etc.

A number of scholarships have been introduced to reduce the emigration of young Hungarians. Some examples are: Lajos Markusovszki, Károly Than, Károly Méhes, Aurél Gábor Scholarships. On the other hand, a wage increase was observed in the sector in 2012-2013. The Semmelweis Plan [28] and the ‘Healthy Hungary 2014-2020” Healthcare Sector Strategy [29] aim to create and maintain programmes to reduce the migration of young healthcare professionals in the future. Data of the Health Registration and Training Center shows that the emigration declined amongst certain groups (e.g. doctors) after 2011 but the trend is still growing in others e.g. “other healthcare professionals” [30]. It is necessary to continue the earlier programmes (e.g. The Semmelweis Plan and scholarships) and implement new ones targeting the most problematic groups. Moreover, it is crucial to start a new round of wage increases. Without solving the problems in question, healthcare will be endangered. There are some fields where serious problems are already apparent e.g. long waiting lists of patients, infrastructure problems etc. [31]

Economic and financial managers and professionals [32]

Economic and financial study programmes (economist, business administration and management, commerce and marketing etc.) are quite popular at Hungarian universities while the number of applicants even exceeds the state-funded places. Moreover, there is also an over-supply in the labour market concerning these fields. Nevertheless, employers need experts who are highly educated and have many years of experience meaning that new graduates/experts with less experience rarely possess the practical knowledge expected by employers. Moreover, functional managers with good foreign language skills tend to leave the country in large numbers because of better wages and career opportunities abroad. [33] As a result of the above, the shortage of experienced experts in this field is getting even more acute because newly established start-ups need these experts in a large number. They are permanently looking for economic and financial managers/professionals. [34]

In order to reduce or eliminate the shortages, it would be important to launch dual programmes in those universities, colleges that have economic programmes. In this way, students of other institutions of higher education could obtain relevant experiences during the internship. A famous private school, the International Business School (henceforth: IBS) is in touch with more than a hundred companies in Hungary where students can take an internship. This is a well-functioning system that brings a huge advantage for IBS students in the Hungarian labour market. It can be considered as a model for designing similar programmes. [35]

Other possible shortage occupations

The lack of skilled manual and unskilled workers also causes a significant problem for the Hungarian economy. Filling these job vacancies has become difficult during the past years. According to the job vacancies announced to the National Employment Service (PES), the shortage was the biggest in the following occupations in 2014:

1) Mechanical machinery assemblers [36],

2.) Elementary workers not elsewhere classified [37];

3). Heavy truck and lorry drivers [38];

4). Elementary workers not elsewhere classified [39];

5). Shop sales assistants [40];

6). Cooks [41];

7). Freight handlers [42];

8). Assemblers not elsewhere classified [43];

9). Structural-metal preparers and erectors [44], Toolmakers and related workers [45];

10). Building construction labourers [46].

It should be noted that the metal and engineering industries have permanently struggled with shortages for many years. [47] Skilled manual workers were also among the most in demand in the Hungarian labour market in 2015. [48] Emigration plays an important role in this shortage – due to low wages and poor working conditions, skilled manual workers find better employment prospects abroad. On the other hand, education is often criticised because it does not provide the appropriate knowledge expected by employers. [49] In certain cases, the lack of skilled manual workers (e.g. metal working machine tool setters and operators [50]) is considered as a more serious problem than the lack of HE graduates. This is especially the case of skilled manual workers in the industry who have management and organisational skills and appropriate technical knowledge at the same time (e.g. welders and flame cutters [51]). Additionally, the lack of appropriate technical knowledge of applicants is a significant problem for industries, which do not have supply by vocational and secondary vocational school graduates (e.g. chemical industry). [52] Public works programmes [53] became a significant factor of the Hungarian labour market over the last few years. These programmes take away the labour force from the private sector and do not inspire people to return. It causes problems concerning not only unskilled workers but also skilled manual workers. [54]

The dual VET system was launched in vocational schools and secondary vocational schools in 2013. As a result, the whole vocational system was changed to give more appropriate knowledge to students and reduce imbalances between demand and supply. In addition, companies have been involved in the provision of education. [55] The system is often criticised for several aspects, for example, it provides students with too specialised knowledge instead of a broader more transversal one. It can be problematic that there is no tradition of dual VET system in Hungary. This relates to the fact that in general, domestic and foreign companies are averse to this system and, therefore, relatively few enterprises are interested in it. [56] The Hungarian Government created scholarships for those students in vocational schools who acquire skills related to shortage occupations. The scholarship for 2016 covers many shortage occupations and can be a good incentive for students. [57] To reduce the shortage in chemical industry, companies started common training with vocational and secondary vocational schools but the number of graduates still does not satisfy demand. The Hungarian Government has a special programme to encourage young people to move back to Hungary (‘Come home, young person’ programme - ‘Gyere haza fiatal’ program). According to the first experiences, these incentives are not attractive enough – the number of applicants was low. Adult training would be an important way to decrease shortages but several changes would be necessary for this to take place. First, adult training programmes are only financed by the European Union funds meaning that more resources should be allocated for it. Second, training programmes should be cheaper, especially concerning occupations that require only secondary level education for entry. Hungary is attractive for foreign investors because of its cheap and skilled manual labour force. Therefore, shortages amongst this occupational group could decrease the number of new foreign investors. [58]

Surplus Occupations

Overall, there is a significant over-supply concerning tertiary graduates in economic, financial, legal and marketing study programmes. [59] Regarding low skilled occupations, surpluses have been identified for the following occupations: street vendors (excluding food) [60], hotel and restaurant managers [61], mining and construction labourers [62], keyboard operators [63], general office clerks [64], agricultural, forestry and fishery labourers [65], textile, fur and leather products machine operators [66], garment and related trades workers [67], food preparation assistants[68], cashiers and ticket clerks [69], shop salespersons [70]. It is a general problem that professionals educated in vocational schools do not possess the appropriate basic competences (e.g. mathematical, social, writing and reading skills), which makes their entry into the labour market difficult. As a result, a significant over-supply can be observed (in spite of unmet demand) in crucial areas such as the metal and engineering industry. [71] Concerning shop assistants or similar occupations and simple, general administrative occupations with secondary level education, surpluses can be explained by over-supply. In relation to administrative occupations, surpluses can be explained also by decreasing demand in the public and the private sector. [72] Finally, hairdresser, beautician and other related occupations became [73] very popular in Hungary in the last few years, so an over-supply can be also identified in these fields. [74]

Note on the methodology

The list has been compiled by Cedefop in the first half of 2016 combining quantitative and qualitative methods. In particular, a list of mismatch occupations was formulated following quantitative analysis of labour market indicators. Country experts were then asked to build on and scrutinise this list. Their expert assessment and knowledge of the country’s labour market has provided rich insights about the reasons behind the skills shortages or surpluses at occupational level. These are also accompanied by measures and policies that aim to tackle such mismatches. Country’s stakeholders have also been included in validating the final list of occupations.

Find here more data and information about Hungary.


[1]Software and applications developers and analysts (ISCO 251), Database and network professionals (ISCO 252), Information and communications technology operations and user support technicians (ISCO 351), Information and communications technology service managers (ISCO 133), Telecommunications and broadcasting technicians (ISCO 352)

[2] ICT Association of Hungary (2015). Gazdasági és társadalmi kitörési lehetőségek az informatikában [Economic and social breakthrough opportunities in IT].  [accessed 07.01.2016]

[4] ICT Association of Hungary (2015). Gazdasági és társadalmi kitörési lehetőségek az informatikában [Economic and social breakthrough opportunities in IT]. [accessed 07.01.2016]

[5] ICT Association of Hungary (2015). Az iskolai digitalis oktatás megújítási terve [Renewal plan for the digital education in schools]. [accessed 07.01.2016]

[7]Based on validation interviews

[8]ICT Association of Hungary (2015). Digitális gazdaság: gazdasági és társadalmi kitörési lehetőség Magyarországnak [Digital economy: an opportunitiy for economic and social upgrade for Hungary].[accessed 07.01.2016]

[10]Based on validation interviews

[12]The Association takes part in preparing decisions and it represents the interests of the sector. The organisation remains in touch with the government, stakeholders and other organisations to promote the sector.

[13]Based on validation interviews

[14]Based on validation interviews

[15]Electrotechnology engineers (ISCO 215), Life science professionals (ISCO 213), Physical and earth science professionals (ISCO 211), Architects, planners, surveyors and designers (ISCO 216)

[17]Supply Chain Media (2015). 4000 betöltetlen mérnökállás Magyarországon [4000 job vacancies for engineers in Hungary] [accessed 08.01.2016]

[18]The Alliance for the Future Engineers (EJMSZ) runs working groups with different tasks and makes strategies, programmes, events, studies, proposals and conducts researches. The main aims of EJMSZ include: a) “to improve the social prestige of the engineering profession in order to represent the interests of secondary school education, tertiary education, and also the economic players, b) to adjust education and vocational training to the needs of a market economy, d) to develop and support the economy in the areas where educational alliances are active, e) to create, develop and strengthen a properly trained workforce, f) to transmit and coordinate demands and expectations from the economy towards educational institutions.” [accessed 12.01.2016]

[21]Medical doctors (ISCO 221), Nursing and midwifery professionals (ISCO 222); Other health professionals (ISCO 226), Veterinarians (ISCO 225)

[23]Based on validation interviews

[25]Health Registration and Training Center (2014). Beszámoló az egészségügyi ágazat 2014. évi humánerőforrásának helyzetéről. [Report on the human resources situation in health care in 2014.] [accessed 05.01.2016]

[26]Júlia, Varga (2015). Hova lettek az orvosok? Az orvosok külföldre vándorlása és pályaelhagyása Magyarországon 2003-2011 [Where have all the doctors gone? Migration and attrition of physicians and dentists in Hungary between 2003 and 2011]. Budapest Working Papers On The Labour Market, 2015/6, pp. 1-31. [accessed 05.01.2016]

[27]Health Registration and Training Center (2014). Beszámoló az egészségügyi ágazat 2014. évi humánerőforrásának helyzetéről. [Report on the human resources situation in health care in 2014.] [accessed 05.01.2016]

[28]Ministry of Human Resources (2011). Újraélesztett egészségügy. Gyógyuló Magyarország. Semmelweis Terv az egészségügy megmentésére. Szakmai koncepció [Resuscitated health care. Recovering Hungary. Semmelweis Plan for the rescue of health care. A professional concept. [accessed 05.01.2016]

[30]The category of the healthcare professionals includes the following ISCO-08 codes: 2263, 2267, 2265, 2264, 3253, 3258, 2266, 2230, 2269, 2262, 2221, 2222, 3221, 3222, 3256, 3252, 3344, 3211, 3212, 3251, 3213, 3230, 3257, 3255, 3214, 3254, 3259

[31]Based on validation interviews

[32]Sales, marketing and development managers (ISCO 122), Production managers in agriculture, forestry and fisheries (ISCO 131), Managing directors and chief executives (ISCO 112), Business services and administration managers (ISCO 121), Finance professionals (ISCO 241), Sales, marketing and public relations professionals (ISCO 243), Administration professionals (ISCO 242)

[33]Based on validation interviews

[34]Own judgement

[35]Based on validation interviews

[36]ISCO 08: 8211

[37]ISCO 08: 9329

[38]ISCO 08: 8332

[39]ISCO 08: 9629

[40]ISCO 08: 5223

[41]ISCO 08: 5134

[42]ISCO 08: 9333

[43]ISCO 08: 8219

[44]ISCO 08: 7214

[45]ISCO 08: 7222

[46]ISCO 08: 9313

[47]Based on validation interviews

[49]Own judgement

[50]ISCO 08: 7223

[51]ISCO 08: 7212

[52]Based on validation interviews

[53]Programmes created and financed by the Hungarian Government

[54]Own judgement

[56]Own judgement

[57]Own judgement

[58]Own judgement

[60]ISCO 08: 952

[61]ISCO 08: 141

[62]ISCO 08: 931

[63]ISCO 08: 413

[64]ISCO 08: 411

[65]ISCO 08: 921

[66]ISCO 08: 815

[67]ISCO 08: 753

[68]ISCO 08: 941

[69]ISCO 08: 523

[70]ISCO 08: 522

[71]Own judgement

[72]Own judgement

[73]ISCO 08: 5141, 5142

[74]Own judgement