Title (eng)

Recent Challenges in Hungary: Economic Inequalities and Labour Shortage from the Perspective of Labour Unionists


Nikoletta Jablonczay   Institut für Soziologie der Universität Wien


Benjamin Herr   Institut für Soziologie der Universität Wien

Hannah Quinz   Institut für Soziologie der Universität Wien


Institut für Soziologie


This paper analyses the relationship between labour shortage and economic inequalities
within Hungary (before the Covid-19 Crisis) from the perspective of labour unions. The
main focus of this research is to understand how Hungarian labour market developments
led to the emigration of labour force and the labour shortage that developed considering
the specific historical, geographical and political characteristics of Hungary within the Central
and Eastern European region. This paper extends the existing research about emigration
and labour shortage as it includes labour union representatives’ experience based on
17 semi-structured problem-centred interviews. This study concludes that meagre wages
hinder the social recognition of traditional professions and skilled labour force. As a result,
the labour force develops its strategy of changing professions to less demanding activities
either moving abroad or to wealthier regions of Hungary due to the increasing workload
that infiltrates private life. This results in growing job fluctuation and the lack of professional
labour force. The study furthermore identifies how regional inequalities influence
people’s migration opportunities and finds that people from Hungary’s poorer Eastern
regions firstly relocate to border areas which then they use as a springboard to find better
opportunities in Western Europe.

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