The Hungarian economy has opened substantially since the country joined the European Union in 2004. Hungary transitioned from a socialist economy to a market economy in the early 1990s. This meant that many smaller companies were privatised while larger foreign-owned companies opened offices in Hungary, thus promoting more opportunities for expats seeking work in Hungary. This still rings true today.
Job market in Hungary
Although Hungary's unemployment rate has gone up in recent years, it reached its lowest level in years in July 2022. Despite the global economic conditions, Hungary's economy remains fairly stable and commercial opportunities abound.
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 methods of job hunting as possible.
The internet is always a good start, and job portals and social networks such as LinkedIn are particularly helpful. That said, jobseekers 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. Though, to understand these, expats will either need to know Hungarian or have someone to translate for them.
Expats may sometimes 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 of 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 and request to be transferred to Hungary instead.
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 the USA and Western Europe. The work week is generally 40 hours, and annual leave typically amounts to 21 days.
Basic knowledge of Hungarian is helpful when negotiating salaries and can put job applicants a step above the rest when applying for jobs in Hungary. Expats working for multinational companies can expect to earn more than their Hungarian counterparts.
►See Work Permits for Hungary for how to go about arranging your work visa for Hungary
"The work culture is very different in Hungary. Things are generally not as efficient here. Communication and structure are sometimes lacking. It can be frustrating as projects move at a slower pace than in America." Read more about Irish-American expat Colm Fitzgerald's experiences in Hungary
Are you an expat living in Hungary?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Hungary. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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