Thursday, 18 October 2012


Germany calling

A poll earlier this year has suggested that 19% of Hungarian adults plan to leave Hungary and work abroad. Amongst these, seven percent are not planning to return. As one might expect, younger people are more prepared to go: 48% of Hungarian adults under the age of 30 plan to leave their country.

Ireland and the UK have been prime destinations till now but this is changing. The economic gloss has gone off Ireland, the UK is no longer so hot either – and most especially Germany is on the up. The German economy is desperate for skilled workers, and German salaries are at least 50% higher than equivalents in Hungary.

Employment restrictions have been lifted throughout the EU. and Hungarian engineering and IT skills are in wide demand – so are Hungarian health care workers, in Europe as around the world.

What happens to Hungary?

Not for the first time in modern times is Hungary losing a great swathe of its youngest and its best, just the people that its society and economy so badly need to rebuilt after hard times, – 1919 and after, 1945 and after, 1956 and after. And now a new potential demographic disaster.

A temporary and part solution might come from inward migration by Magyars from the surrounding countries for whom the Hungarian government has now made it exceedingly easy to up stakes and settle in the Hungarian heartland. And a temporary brake on brain-drain emigration might come from another piece of recent government legislation: from this year state grants for university will be provided only to students who sign an agreement to work in Hungary when they graduate for at least twice as long as their period of state-financed study.

Both of these part solutions may provide no more than short-term, palliative care. In today's Budapest Business Journal, Ágnes Vinkovits writes –
Time will tell if relocated cross-border Hungarians also decide to go West in the hope of a better life; and also if those young people in higher education are made only angrier by a restriction that seriously limits their freedom and finally decide to just pay the price and run away.

And Conductive Education?

How might such macro-economic trends bear upon the the micro-economics of Conductive Education within them? One need not be an economic determinist to wonder about the following possibilities:
  • 'enough' conductors outside Hungary in the immediate future, maybe even a glut – especially in the EU
  • a corresponding conductor shortage in Hungary
  • these trends possibly reverse in a very few years, with shortage abroad and glut at home, as the Hungarian government's cap on graduate emigration takes effect
  • meanwhile, Germany increasingly takes center stage and calls the tune in Western Conductive Education, rather leaving the English-speaking world on the sidelines.

Vinkovits, A. (2012,) On their way – Hungarian worker migration threats, Budapest Business Journal, 18 October

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