Working in Hungary

The Hungarian economy has opened substantially since joining the European Union in 2004. Hungary made the transition from a socialist economy to a market economy in the early 1990s and is now a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The switch from a socialist to a market economy meant that many smaller companies were privatised and larger companies, such as Cora, IKEA and Tesco, opened offices in Hungary.


The job market in Hungary

Although Hungary's unemployment rate spiked after the global economic crisis, the country's economy has recovered well and the unemployment rate has not only stabilised but is steadily decreasing. It currently stands at 5 percent, having dropped by nearly 2 percent in the past year alone.

As the largest electronics producer in Central and Eastern Europe, Hungary has plenty to offer for expats in electronics manufacturing and research in particular. Other strong sectors in the country's economy include mining, technology, telecommunications and IT. There are also opportunities for young and inexperienced expats as English teachers.


Finding a job in Hungary

Expats looking for a job in Hungary will need to be thorough in their search and use as many different methods of job hunting as possible.

The Internet is a popular way to look for a job and expats will quickly find that there are many potential opportunities online. However, but expats should be wary of accepting a job offer before meeting their new employer in person. 

For expats already in Hungary, it might be fruitful to peruse the job sections of local newspapers. However, to understand these, expats will either need to know Hungarian or have someone to translate for them.

Ultimately, expats may find that Hungarian companies are reluctant to employ foreigners. This is mainly because of the amount of red tape involved. In this respect, expats from EU countries will have a better chance at finding a job in Hungary because EU citizenship automatically grants them the right to work.

If unable to find a Hungarian employer, expats may be able to find a job with multinational corporations based in their home country instead, and request to be transferred to Hungary.


Work culture in Hungary

Expats working in Hungary will find that their work environment is quite traditional, especially if working for a local company. Multinational companies, on the other hand, offer environments similar to those in America and Western Europe. The work week is generally 40 hours and annual leave usually amounts to 21 days.

A basic knowledge of Hungarian is helpful when negotiating salaries and can put job applicants a head above the rest when applying for jobs in Hungary. Expats working for multinational companies can expect to earn more than their Hungarian counterparts.