About young people, migration, education and the future of business in Bulgaria
The rapid ageing of the Bulgarian population, which will lead to a considerable decline in the working population in the next years, poses a serious problem not only for the business, but also for the state. The emigration of young and well educated people creates a complicated problem for Bulgaria. But isn’t it possible that this fact might be overstated? And does this process bring only negative consequences for our country?
First: If we look at the statistics we can see that so far the massive outflow of Bulgarians is not directed towards the developed countries in the European Union, where highly qualified and skilled labour is needed, but towards the countries with grave economic problems like Greece, Italy and Spain. This is due to the fact that these are mostly people with insufficient qualification.
Second: Strategically, migration has certain positive consequences for our country. The majority of the people leaving Bulgaria in search for a better job or education do not break the connection with their family and relatives. According to data provided by BNB, the money transferred by people working abroad to their families amount to € 1 bilion per year and the amount is comparable to the foreign direct investments made over the past years.
Third: Emigrants get the opportunity to acquire knowledge and new skills, they are trained to work in a different (European or American) way. Practice has shown that emigrants from southern nations (Bulgaria belongs to this category) at some stage return to their native country with higher qualification and improved financial resources.
Fourth: Bulgaria does have a serious problem related to the level of qualification of the workforce, but this problem, however, is due to domestic factors, one of them being the quality of education, rather than the problem of emigration. Nearly one third of the young people in the country belong to the category of “unemployed young people at the age of 30”. Under this indicator Bulgaria holds the record in EU. More than half of the long-term unemployed have primary education or even lower than that. Only one fourth of the graduates in Bulgaria succeed in finding a job that matches their qualification. The greatest problem in Bulgarian education is the lack of flexible curricula which can be used to provide adequate training so that students can adapt to the dynamic changes in the labour market. The conclusions based on the results from a questionnaire administered by the World Bank among Bulgarian entrepreneurs outline the lack of communication skills, the ability to work in teams and resolve conflicts in the work place – skills that start developing in the kindergarten, the elementary and primary school – as the major problem.
Improving labour productivity is one way to ease the problem with the aging population, but this cannot happen considering the current state of the Bulgarian education. To be able to create and develop one should have good foundation.