Are pensioners the answer to the labor shortage in Hungary?

In some countries, pensioners spend their years of well-deserved retirement travelling to exotic countries, relaxing in spas and trekking. Hungarian seniors, however, are lured back to the job market.

Ivett Körösi
Ivett Körösi Nepszava, Hungary
Source: Nepszava
Are pensioners the answer to the labor shortage in Hungary? - NewsMavens
A pensioner. Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The government is trying to deal with shortages on the labor market by filling the gap with pensioners. The elderly can now find jobs by joining one of the newly launched co-operatives. Since July, 76 such co-operatives have been created and 2,890 people have joined them -- much less than the government anticipated. They estimated that the number of members could reach 135,000 in a year.

Why is lifelong employment not attractive to Hungarian seniors?

Well, according to Gyorgyi Nemethne Jankovics, president of the Pensioners’ National Association (NYOSZ), many elderly people live an active life and do not have time to work. Those interested in going back to the labor market have already found a way to do so.

Another reason might be the types of jobs available and the wages. Cleaning, packaging, cooking, clerking -- most openings are in these fields. Looking at the database, it seems pretty much impossible to find a job that requires a university degree. The wage rates are between 700-1000 HUF per hour (app. 2-3.5 euros) before tax.

The relative lack of interest does not mean, however, that Hungarian pensioners are well off. Half of them survive on less than 100 000 HUF (app. 391 euros) a month, according to the Hungarian Central Statistical Office. Many would certainly appreciate the extra money.

There is, however, something that is often more valued by the elderly than money, the president of NYOSZ told Nepszava. It is time. Many pensioners prefer to spend their time doing something meaningful.

If you want to find out why it might be beneficial for businesses to hire pensioners, click on the article below.

Details from the story:

  • There are around 2 million pensioners in Hungary, i.e. 20% of the entire population.
  • 40% of the pensioners would be interested in going back to the labor market, claimed a study, which the government used as an indicator prior to launching the project of co-operatives.
  • Mostly women are interested in joining co-operatives. They make up 70% of the members.
  • The average member is aged 65-70.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at