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Eastern Europe's Workforce Exodus: Labour Shortage Forces Reliance on Immigration Canva

Eastern Europe's Workforce Exodus: Labour Shortage Forces Reliance on Immigration

Written by  May 28, 2023

The departure of people from Central and Eastern Europe to Western Europe has contributed to many countries now experiencing a shortage of labour, which they cannot meet without immigrants, according to an article in Jutarnji list on Sunday. It states that 16% of workers aged 20 to 64 have left Croatia.

Christian Kopf, the CEO of the German company Union Investment Privatfonds, recently tried to hire an assistant and advertised a job that included certain requirements, including a good command of the English language. However, no one in Germany applied for the position.

In the end, he was forced to hire a Russian woman who had left her country due to the regime of Putin. The problem was that she didn't speak English. "We solved it by starting to use DeepL, a significantly better version of Google Translate. For example, she can open any document in at least twenty languages, and the number is constantly increasing," Kopf said at a panel during the Dubrovnik Economic Conference, which discussed the current conditions in the labour market.

The main characteristics of the labour market, according to economists, are low employment, high demand for labour, and an extremely high number of job vacancies. Therefore, policymakers don't have many choices: they can solve the problem by significantly increasing the use of technology or by importing workers.

"The focus should be on increasing productivity, not employment," Kopf believes. As heard at the panel, this can be achieved in various ways, including the use of translation applications. For example, the European Central Bank currently employs around 200 translators. If they were to use DeepL, "a significantly smaller number of translators would be needed."

However, technology cannot meet the needs of labour-intensive service industries, especially in the tourism sector, writes Marina Klepo, a journalist from Jutarnji list.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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