12/18/2019
MASS MIGRATION AND WORKFORCE SHORTAGE – MAIN CHALLENGES TO THE FOREIGN INVESTORS

Working meeting of the Foreign Investors Council with the President of the Government of the RNM, Zoran Zaev

МАСОВНАТА МИГРАЦИЈА И НЕДОСТАТОКОТ НА РАБОТНА СИЛА - ГЛАВЕН ПРЕДИЗВИК НА СТРАНСКИТЕ ИНВЕСТИТОРИBefore they invest in a country, the foreign investors usually base their decisions on series of factors, such as the political stability, transparent legal system, suitable infrastructure and tax policy, whereas the subsidies and other type of support are not commonly the key aspects when reaching these decisions. Of course, the economic policymakers in the country should consider this as well.

One of the key factors is the availability of qualified workforce, without which the production process would be unimaginable. It is exactly the shortage of qualified personnel that impacts every industry because there is an increasing number of foreign companies that alert that due to this problem, the development continuity of the businesses is called into question, including the Macedonian economy as well, which is using any means necessary to provide higher economic growth.

The mass migration of the working age population and the workforce shortage were the conversation topics at the working meeting between the member companies of the Foreign Investors Council and the President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, held on 11/12/2019 at the Economic Chamber of Macedonia.

As pointed out by the President of the Foreign Investors Council, Stefan Peter, the ever more evident problem with workforce shortage poses the main challenge to the foreign companies operating in this country, which is an obstacle to the realization of the projected business plans. The migration, especially of the young working age population is an additional problem, which needs to be resolved by ensuring better-paying jobs, but also by systemic support and by developing measures in regard to creation of new employment opportunities and improvement of the conditions and the quality of life in this country.

The joint conclusion was that the problem with workforce shortage is not an endemic problem to the Macedonian economy. Many other developing countries from the Southeast and Central European region have been facing rapid migration and decline of the workforce in the past years. However, this problem is much more difficult to Macedonia, considering that we are a small country with far greater limitations as regards human resources.

МАСОВНАТА МИГРАЦИЈА И НЕДОСТАТОКОТ НА РАБОТНА СИЛА - ГЛАВЕН ПРЕДИЗВИК НА СТРАНСКИТЕ ИНВЕСТИТОРИ МАСОВНАТА МИГРАЦИЈА И НЕДОСТАТОКОТ НА РАБОТНА СИЛА - ГЛАВЕН ПРЕДИЗВИК НА СТРАНСКИТЕ ИНВЕСТИТОРИ

МАСОВНАТА МИГРАЦИЈА И НЕДОСТАТОКОТ НА РАБОТНА СИЛА - ГЛАВЕН ПРЕДИЗВИК НА СТРАНСКИТЕ ИНВЕСТИТОРИ МАСОВНАТА МИГРАЦИЈА И НЕДОСТАТОКОТ НА РАБОТНА СИЛА - ГЛАВЕН ПРЕДИЗВИК НА СТРАНСКИТЕ ИНВЕСТИТОРИ

The Prime Minister Zaev highlighted that before we take any reform steps in securing quality personnel in accordance with the companies’ requirements, we need to include every social factor and to treat the said issues and proposals as key priorities. It is our mutual task to increase the productivity and the competitiveness of the domestic economy if we wish to deliver economic life to every citizen and retain the youth in this country, and to satisfy and motivate the companies, whether domestic or foreign, to invest. The negotiations date will certainly not change anything, if we do not resolve it ourselves, - concluded Zaev. One of the initial solutions is the requalification and further qualification, and simulative measures, whereby increasing the employment, attracting workers to the industrial branches and creating better-paying jobs.

The Foreign Investors Council companies pointed out that the size of the salary is not the only reason to leave, but also the economic and political instability, limited opportunities for professional development, inappropriate or limited urban services and infrastructure (including healthcare, education, municipal services etc.), the lack of trust in the institutions of the system, dysfunctional administration etc., all affect this process.

Part of the potential solutions to these problems, which the member companies of the Foreign Investors Council pointed out, is as follows:

- Development of functional models for employee transfer from public to private sector, which will be attractive both to the employers and the employees;

- Models for boosting the employment of persons with lower degree of education or without qualifications;

- Measures for conducting mass campaigns for raising the public awareness of the benefits from working in this country, that is, campaigns that aim to motivate the citizens to plan their future in their native country;

- Measures that provide specific tax reliefs to young persons that remain to work or have founded and run successful startups in this country and are able to sell goods and services to the foreign investors, following the example of Croatia and Poland, or specific measures of state assistance in regard to work for the return migrants, following the example of Spain and Portugal, as strategic programs for bringing the working age population back to the country;

- Alleviation of the administrative burden of the micro-startup companies that are run by young entrepreneurs by legally separating them from the medium-sized and large companies in regard to new and simpler laws for these entities;

- Expanding the opportunities for professional development;

- Reexamining the necessity for agencies that mediate employment abroad, introduction of higher criteria for establishment and efficient prevention of cases of fraud in this regard;

- Regional approach when conferring state assistance for creating and maintaining new jobs – considerably more funds for the companies outside the capital.

Furthermore, the issue of workforce import from third countries was also raised, following the example of the neighboring and regional countries that have already made that move, whereof Prime Minister Zaev informed that the Government would come up with specific measures and solutions, which will facilitate hiring foreign workers.

The joint conclusion from the meeting with the Prime Minister is that these issues are strategic state interest, and are certainly of interest to the foreign investors and to the domestic companies. Consequently, special attention will be dedicated to adopting joint strategy in the upcoming period, which will prevent the consequences from the mass migration of the working age population from this country and from the shortage of creative and productive workers, at the very least.

Dr. Elena Milevska Shtrbevska
Vlatko Stojanovski