By Niel Casas
The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic has upended the job market and forced many Budapest businesses to shift to remote working. With social distancing measures in place, many international corporations employing students at McDaniel and other Budapest universities, have either terminated their contracts, or moved to remote working. However, what does that mean for you, and your job search in Budapest as a student?
To begin, many multinational companies move their European headquarters for customer service for example, to Budapest, simply because labor is much cheaper than in western European countries like Germany, France and the UK. As a result, many data entry and various monotonous jobs are readily available from many companies for you as a student, depending on your work experience, and language ability. Yet, how did the pandemic change this?
First, many student jobs have been scrapped as many companies are trying to reduce their costs, due to financial hardships. Personally speaking, this has impacted me and some other students at Avis Budget Group. With the economy opening up, this will hopefully be subject to improvement.
Secondly, many companies are conducting interviews and on-boarding processes entirely online. This directly benefits you, as you are able to stay safe, and also save time. If work-at-home options are available, and with the fall semester fast approaching, you’ll be able to have more flexible schedules. Growing evidence, and personal viewpoints from several international companies offer their opinions.
To begin, Zoltan Lusychik a project manager from Heinemann’s Budapest office told The Messenger, “The pandemic made us realize that home office saves us a substantial amount of money, that can instead be used to hire more students. Even after the pandemic, we would still prefer our staff to be as remote as possible.” His views were also shared by Ubisoft game company’s chief of operations. “Our biggest costs were always running costs like rent for our employees. We always thought about shifting permanently some roles to work at home. This pandemic gave us the push to do just that, and we’ve already reduced almost half our office space costs,” he shared. In effect, Budapest branches have already observed the clear financial benefits of remote working, and have already opened up positions for many students to take.
Lastly, it is important to note another aspect of the shift to remote working in Budapest – the relocation of labor to even cheaper countries. Whilst the minimum wage in Budapest is lower than many countries at around €5 per hour, other countries on the African continent, and in South East Asia have minimum wages even lower at €1-2 per hour.
What does this mean for you? Well there are two effects. The first is fewer IT remote jobs in Budapest for the McDaniel student body. The second is an even tougher job market. With many Budapest-based professionals losing their jobs, trying to enter the job market is more challenging as ever. Don’t fret! There are however solutions!
My first suggestion is to go on job search websites such as indeed.com, or glassdoor.com, to find remote-work jobs in your country of citizenship. For EU students, you fortunately can look for remote work all over the EU! For other students, such as those from India, you can only look in India. To enable you to work in Budapest, make note of the following:
- Have a strong internet connection
- Fast computer
- Headset with good microphone
- Distraction-free environment
With the pandemic set to last until a vaccine is found, the shifting work space will be staying with us for the foreseeable future.