Bratislava -- the "brainiest" capital of the EU

Every fifth person who lives in the Slovak capital works in the brain business. Why is it that Bratislava beats all European capitals -- from Paris to Stockholm?

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
Bratislava -- the "brainiest" capital
of the EU - NewsMavens
Working at the office. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Every fifth person who lives in Bratislava is employed in a "brain business" -- a term which encompasses a broad range of jobs, from the tech-sector and ICT (information and communications technology) to creative professions and advanced services. Why is it that Bratislava beats all European capitals -- from Paris to Stockholm?

As the authors of a recent report explained:

“The geography of brain business jobs in Europe no longer follows a simple division between North and South, West and East. Many countries in Eastern and Central Europe outpace their Southern European fellow EU-members in brain business job intensity.”

A study of the European Centre for Policy Reform and Entrepreneurship found that the Slovak capital has the highest concentration of innovators per 1000 capita among European capitals. On the other hand, Slovakia as a country is not as successful as its capital -- it ranks 18 among 28 European countries. “The brain jobs of the former planned economies of Eastern and Central Europe tend to be strongly focused in the capital regions,” the report claims.  

Slovakia is mentioned an example of a “rookie” -- an Eastern or Central European country that lacks large high-tech companies but “competes with a good supply of knowledge-intensive experts, lower wages and easier access to housing and business facilities”.

That sounds about right. In the past few years, young and middle-aged Slovaks have been active and creative entrepreneurs. The country is also a cradle of many successful tech companies, such as the software giant Eset and the growing software company Exponea.

Details from the story:

  • According to a new study of Swedish researchers, Bratislava has the highest concentration of brain businesses out of the European capitals.
  • The study was published by European Centre for Policy Reform and Entrepreneurship.
  • The study claims that although many Slovaks are employed as tech-workers, less than average is involved in creative business, art, research and development.
  • On the other side, Bratislava lacks people eager to work for basic salary -- for example cleaners, janitors and cooks in the school kitchens.
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