Worried About the Pandemic’s Aftermath, Two Thirds of Romanians Say They Would Train for a New Career

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Two thirds of Romanian workers are willing to retrain for new jobs as they look toward the aftermath of the pandemic, according to a new study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network and its Romanian member BestJobs. The interest in developing new skills is highest among those in the early- and midcareer phases.

Thirty-eight percent of the Romanian workers polled said that they were laid off or forced to work fewer hours during the COVID-19 crisis, according to the survey Decoding Global Reskilling and Career Paths, published today. The economic fallout has been the worst in Romania for the young and for those over 61 years of age as well as for the least educated. The layoffs and reduced working hours most effected – as well-known – those working in travel and tourism (88%), but those working in the media, non-profit, and consumer product and services sectors were also affected considerably.

Sixty-seven percent of Romanians say they would retrain for something new in any case, and a further 30% are willing to retain if necessary – if their jobs were at risk. Those in job roles seen as less vulnerable—health and medicine, technology, professional services, science and research, and law—generally aren’t as ready to switch careers.

“Companies should be open to hiring people with unusual career paths: in the future, talent may come from many unexpected backgrounds and careers. For example, having a 1-year unemployment gap or a completely different educational background may become more common as people shift between careers to overcome challenges like COVID-19. Employers must learn to look behind formalities and hire talent for their skills and potential,” said Ádám Kotsis, BCG Associate Director, People Strategy.

There are some geographic differences in the willingness to retrain. People in developing economies, including many in Africa, are the most enthusiastic, with as many as three-quarters saying they would retrain to prepare themselves for a new job. Europeans and Americans have the lowest level of willingness, the study shows, but even in those geographies the proportion of people who say they would retrain is generally above 50%.

In a global comparison, Romania’s 67% reading is in line with the global 68% average and close to Serbia’s 69%, the highest among the countries polled in Central and Eastern Europe. Hungary’s reading was the lowest with 49% in the region, followed by 54% in Slovenia, 57% in Austria, and 63% in Poland.

A Move Toward More Stable Fields

Digital and information technology top the list of potential next careers, probably because of the expanding opportunities in those areas and the generally high remuneration. Office administration, secretarial, and management-focused jobs (such as marketing and human resources) are also seen as attractive next career steps, possibly because of the perceived ease of transitioning into those jobs for a variety of workers.

Workers have already been taking steps to upgrade their skills. Over three fourths (76%) of Romanians said that they spend a few weeks or even more on skill building each year, significantly higher than the 65% global average. In comparison, the highest readings were recorded at 90% in Turkey and Ivory Coast, and the lowest at 34% in the Netherlands and at 41% in Germany.

The approach to learning has evolved due to the pandemic since the last BCG-BestJobs report on global talent in 2018: online educational institutions and the use a mobile apps gained headway globally as well as in Romania. Online educational institutions and the use a mobile apps doubled their popularity among Romanians but both approaches still trail on-the-job training and independent self-study, today’s most popular approaches to workplace learning.


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