Romania loses 20% of its workforce to emigration in 15 years

By Dénes Albert
1 Min Read

A World Bank report revealed that Romania has lost no less than 20 percent of its labor force to emigration over the past 10-15 years.

Its “Systematic Country Diagnostic” report showed that Romania’s working-age population is shrinking, largely due to emigration and low labor market participation, which reduces labor supply and therefore potential economic growth.

The country’s population fell from 22.8 million to 19.1 million between 2000 and 2021 and is projected to fall to 17.8 million by 2030.

Much of the emigration is permanent, leading to skills gaps, labor shortages in key roles (e.g., doctors), distorted wage demands, and declining real labor productivity.

The report also shows that Romanians who emigrate are usually younger and more educated than the remaining population, leading to a “brain drain” in the country.

This phenomenon has been fueled by a number of internal factors, such as “inefficiencies in the education system, unfavorable attitudes toward lifelong learning, and ineffective vocational training and active labor market policies, which are causing skills shortages and mismatches with market demand, as well as reduced capacity for innovation, economic growth and earnings potential.”

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