A year of crisis in review: Employers still recruiting in a downturn

The crisis that took hold of the Romanian economy in September has removed the elite companies in banking, constructions, real estate and automotive industry from the spotlight. The largest employers over the last 12 months came from recession-proof sectors: FMCG, retail and services.

Poor job prospects

Even since the last quarter of 2008, the effects of the financial crisis were beginning to hamper bankers and builders’ development plans. The economic standstill has not only crumbled employers’ dreams but it forced them to put in place cost-cutting measures which included workforce cut. A recent Hay Group survey found that over 47% companies were planning to freeze the expansion projects or to scale back recruitment in 2009.

What crisis failed to alter was people’s need to consume which kept companies in FMCG, retail, services afloat and made them a safe bet for job applicants.

Individually, companies advertised a small number of vacant jobs, but as autumn set in, employers set up their stalls at the career fairs. The largest employers offered a total 9,000 jobs at the three career expos: Banking Jobs (2,000), Future Careers (Cariere de Viitor)(3.500) and Top Employers (3,500). The same companies brought new job offers at the Top Employers fair that took place in March last year. The biggest offers came from retailers such as Carrefour, Real, Cora and RTC Holding and consumer-product companies Henkel Romania, Procter&Gamble or StarFoods.

Over 8,000 new jobs in the local retail market

Ignoring the gloomy forecasts on population consumer trends, the retail market has spread its tentacles in the 12 months to September. Eight new shopping centers Liberty Center, Militari Shopping Centre, Grand Arena, Galleria Suceava – opened doors, and created 3,000-4,000 new jobs, according to Wall-Street estimates.

The modern retail industry evaluated at $28.3 bln in 2008 by Planet Retail, totaled over 4,500 job offers in September 2008 – September 2009 interval.

Thus, the discount stores Plus, part of German-based Tenglemann group, added 500 new employees on its payroll in the period under review. Profi network increased by eight new outlets in 2009, while Minimax opened six new units.

In the hypermarket category – Metro, Selgros and Carrefour, the newly opened outlets generated around 2,500 jobs. At the end of August this year, Carrefour opened its second logistic center in Romania, in Hunedoara county, designed to supply the supermarkets and hypermarkets in Transilvania, Banat and Oltenia areas. The opening of the new logistic center has created around 1,000 new jobs.

Carrefour’s rival Cora Romania, part of the French-based Louis Delhaize opened two new outlets amid downturn – one in Galati and one in Bucharest, generating over 1,200 jobs.

The DIY retail market offers 1,000 jobs at Praktiker (400), Bricostore (270) and in the four new Dedeman outlets (500 jobs).

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