Does having a low cost of living make migration more or less likely?
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It’s a very pertinent question, not least to ourselves, as Resource Central operates from two very ‘different’ locations. The first is in Cambridge, UK – one of the most expensive places to live in Britain – and the other location is our main Sarajevo hub, home to our Shared Services Centre. Despite its long history, rich culture, world-renowned University and enviable 21st century infrastructure, Sarajevo is one of the lowest cost-of-living locations in Europe.
The traditional belief is that a lower-cost-of-living-country will see net migration – and since 2005, with the accession of the 9 CEE states into the EU, this has certainly been the case. But we are experiencing significant changes – and we may even be on the cusp of a reversal of this situation.
Amongst the European graduate communities, we’re seeing graduates from Spain, France and the UK being attracted to positions in Prague, Budapest and Bucharest. This is being driven by a lower cost of living, a market vacuum (high indigenous youth unemployment) and the sheer excitement and opportunity of working somewhere “different”. In sectors such as IT, salaries in these countries still lag behind those in the UK, Germany etc. – but they’re gradually increasing across the CEE Region and the real deal-clincher for people looking to migrate is the all-important lower cost of living.
“This trend will continue, before levelling-out as Near-Sourcing (i.e. newly-created Contact Centres, Shared Service Centres and Manufacturing operations) in these countries gathers pace, salaries increase correspondingly – and migration slows down. We have seen this in Poland, as Poles from across Europe continue to return home to well-paid work in significant numbers.”Keith Robinson - Director & Candidate Experience Leader
In the “West”, as our infrastructures creak under the pressure of growing populations, we’ll begin to “take the jobs to the people” rather than “bring people to the jobs” – and we’ll see a much more flexible and mobile workforce in Europe, with a West-to-East trend growing, as opposed to the current ‘East-to-West’ migration.
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