In 2011, the National Centre for the Development of Technical and Vocational Training (CNDIPT) in partnership with the National Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection (INCSMPS) undertook an employer survey on skills needs as part of the Anticipating skills needs for 2013 study, financed within the ESF project Matching the educational supply of vocational and professional training with the labour market demand (POSDRU/55/1.1/S/37932).

The employer survey had a national representative sample of 3 836 companies with at least five employees, covering all regions and counties of Romania aiming at identifying labour demand for TVET graduates, while also assessing skill gaps for new entrants to the labour market.

Findings of the survey pinpointed difficulties companies have had to cope with regarding the reduction in the total number of employees (-7.3% at national level) affecting all regions and concentrated in sectors like production and supply of energy, gas, steam and conditioning air, real estate activities, construction and manufacturing.

According to the employer survey, the job vacancy rate was 1.7% in August 2011, with a rising trend in real estate, financial intermediation and insurances, hotels and restaurants, manufacturing, construction and mining. It is noteworthy that sectors worst affected by the crisis are now among the ones where vacancies are on the rise. While this does not necessarily mean that new jobs are created, it shows that a certain base-effect type of recovery is under way, albeit shyly. In occupation groups, the job vacancy rate was highest for craft and related trades workers (3%), plant and machine operators and assemblers (2.5%) and skilled agricultural and fishery workers (1.8%).

Most vacancies available were opened during the last three months (80%) and requested qualifications mainly provided by the TVET system, the highest demand being in textile and leather, mechanics and construction. Recruitment difficulties were generated by occupations requesting TVET-type qualifications.

Most vacancies were still open due to lack of adequate level of qualification of skilled workers and unattractive working conditions provided by companies. About 64.7% of the companies investigated named the candidates’ personal profile as the main reason behind the hiring decision, while only 62.1% identified the technical skills portfolio of the candidates as predominant in the selection process and the subsequent hiring decision.

In the short run, companies anticipate a rise in demand for skilled personnel for all of Romania’s regions with the bulk of it in sectors such as health and social assistance and financial intermediation and insurance. View is bleaker for energy, gas and steam production and supply, water supply and waste management as well as for professional, scientific and technical activities.

During the recession of the past two years, companies were cautious in the hiring process, in spite of existing allowances in the Unemployment Insurance Law. Only 12.2% of the companies investigated replied positively when asked about recruiting and hiring graduates. Most companies selected TVET graduates and, in the majority of cases, declared themselves satisfied with their skills level. However, those dissatisfied described TVET graduates as rather disappointing performers. Most of the new entrants to the labour market displaying TVET-type qualifications were from the occupational groups mechanics, trade-relate occupations and construction.

The findings of the survey are used by CNDIPT alongside forecasting results for its yearly planning exercises. The survey is also highly informative on issues such as company behaviour in times of crisis.