Results of the analysis of Medium-term and Long-term Forecasts for Labor Market Development and Future Demand and Supply of Labor in Bulgaria


The results of the analysis of Medium-term and Long-term Forecasts for Labor Market Development and Future Demand and Supply of Labor in Bulgaria have been presented on the 10th, October, 2019 at Park Hotel “Moscow”. The Labor Market Forecast Project started in 2013, and the Business Education Foundation is part of the consortium involved in its implementation.


In his welcome speech the Minister of Labor and Social Policy Bisser Petkov expressed gratitude to the research team that prepared the forecast report. He announced the creation of an online platform where the results will be available online and outlined the main trends.

By 2030, the number of employed in Bulgaria will fall below 3 million. The number of employed will decrease with 190 thousand, most of whom will be persons with primary and lower education.

By 2030, there will be a structural surplus of people with tertiary education of about 38 000, as well as a shortage of workers with secondary education with more than 77 000 jobs.

These discrepancies will be addressed by the new employment strategy with horizon 2030. The most important measures will be:

– improving investment in quality, adequate education and lifelong learning, in line with the needs of the labor market, rethinking the concepts of “knowledge, skills, learning”. Curricula need to be updated not only by introducing new topics, but by new knowledge and skills;

– policies to promote giving birth and balancing demographic decline;

– active measures to activate the unemployed, the disabled, the retention of senior employees,

– career guidance and support for a better balance between personal and professional life, including changing the attitude of employers when hiring employees (young women, people with disabilities, seniors);

– income policy, providing motivating payments – the pressure in this direction will increase in the coming years due to staff shortages. Otherwise, we will witness an even greater brain drain.

– targeted investment in sectors such as healthcare and adult care, education, science and culture, which is an indicator of the development of a society;

– encouraging investment in highly specialized sectors, research, innovation and technological development of the economy.

Assoc. Prof. Ralitsa Ganeva focused on the main conclusions of the report. Among the challenges she outlined were:

– the development of information and communication technologies and job automation;

– demographic changes such as decreasing and aging population, increasing cohorts with adults over 55; decline in the working population – in the medium term by 3.7% to 4.3 million. In the long run, the data is even more challenging.

– democracy in education and increasing the number of university graduates. By 2024, more than 1/4 of the population will have tertiary education. Employment is above 90 percent, with a moderate average saving and a slight decrease in the long term, while employment in people with primary and lower education decreases.

– strong regionalization, urbanization, mobility, which has a strong impact on employment, mostly focused on Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas.

Employment will be concentrated in several sectors:

– processing (21.6%) – mainly food and textile industry, production of metal and metal products;

– 16.1% trade and repairs – it is expected to shrink by 16% in the medium term and by another 12% in the long term

– 8,4% – construction

– 8.2% -16% government

– 7,3% – transport

– 6,9% – education

– 6,1% – Health

– Only 3.2% are employed in ICT (just over 94 thousand) !!! Ralitsa Ganeva emphasized the leading role of this cluster in creating a knowledge economy with high added value and the need for more investment in the development of the technology sector. It anticipates sustainable employment. The myth is that they are highly qualified, many have secondary education, the youngest sector, only 10% are over 50, 60% are men.

On the other pole are the education and health sectors, with a predominant share of women, aging staff and a huge shortage of human resources.

Among the discrepancies observed in the labor market are the so-called underemployment in which persons with high educational attainment are engaged in lower-skilled positions (taxi drivers, salesmen, receptionists, etc.). In Europe, this problem affects 1 in 4 people with tertiary education, and in 10-15 years the same situation will be observed in our country.

Accordingly, there is an inverse trend of over-employment – hiring employees with lower than required qualifications due to shortage of staff.

The reasons for the discrepancies are:

– Overtake of highly qualified employees.

– An employment structure dominated by medium-skilled labor demand

– Non-competitive remuneration, which leads to the shift of higher education to higher-paying jobs or to migration.

– Shortage of specialists in certain branches.

Medical and educational professionals are the leading professions in which there will be an increasing demand by 2024. At the same time, it will reduce the demand for sellers, waiters and cooks.

Sector details reveal what the leading professions after 15 years will be – namely, workers and machine operators again. For example, in the telecommunications sector where Bulgaria has no production, sellers are also demnaded.

The report is published on the MLSP website.