Austria     Belgium     Brazil     Canada     Denmark     Finland     France     Germany     Hungary     Iceland     Ireland     Italy     Luxembourg     The Netherlands     Norway     Poland     Spain     Sweden     Switzerland     UK     USA     

The new factor of the labour market: Relocations due to COVID – Part 1

Health and economic assessment

We already know that new needs, goals, and expectations appeared in the labour market due to the COVID-19 period. The fulfilment of healthy, meaningful life with a real work-life balance gained significantly more importance for employees. However, there is another factor that jumped up the importance rankings, but even professionals speak about it cautiously. On the one hand, the clear consequences are only visible now; on the other hand, it is a topic that people do not really talk about: the “sensible and safe location” has now appeared as an employee expectation.

A professional assessment is necessary

It is unnecessary to overexplain that every continent and almost every country reacted completely differently to the virus, and then continued handling the situation differently as time wore on. One year later, it is quite apparent which countries handled it well, which countries experienced major challenges, and which nations fell far behind the pack. Of course, comparing countries’ performances is not easy from a professional perspective because several factors influence where they ended up in the list. There is a lot of debate on how certain health factors, such as death rates, should be viewed in the end: should economic data not be considered side-by-side? Now you might see why people are scared to speak about this topic. Nowadays, no topic in the world would be more sensitive, or insensitive. How many lives were traded to provide subsistence for the general population? This is not a comfortable subject. What is more, if we asked this question after the first and second waves of the pandemic – or now, towards the end of the third wave – the overall picture would have been completely different. The virus has affected a growing number of people, and more and more of them realised that what we heard about the overflowing hospitals is still a real threat. What is more, while the elderly were by far the most affected by the virus, increasing numbers of middle-aged people are also in the danger zone, and we have not even mentioned the increasing threats affecting pregnant women, or how increasing numbers of children are experiencing serious illness. Not so slowly, but surely, the whole world has learned to fear the virus. Of course, as usual, an opposing stance exists, virus deniers, but if there is a right, there must be a left. Actually, it does not have to be so, but that is just human nature. Of course, it is not definite that things should work like this and remain this way. Assessment will not be easy from the perspective of medicine. Nevertheless, it will be important to see who made mistakes and where. Not because they can be condemned in this way; however, drawing some kind of conclusions will be necessary for this field because not everybody can look in the mirror objectively. We need to learn from this situation. It is not too early to talk about what we would do if a new virus hits that also turn our lives upside down. We also have to work on it so that no similar situation can occur ever again.

Economic assessment

Evaluating economic results will be easier because numbers speak for themselves. Of course, the image will be complete with the comparison of health data and economic indicators. Who would be the professional who condemns anybody purely because of the deterioration of financial indexes? It will be worth it to have real research in two fields. One of them is obviously the rate of economic decline, which more or less indicates the stability of the given economy; however, this claim could be refuted at several points. The other field which will be more interesting is the timeliness of the economic recovery and its results. While everybody will accept that the economy declines in such a situation, nobody will move forward if things cannot be restored with an appropriate economic policy as soon as possible. Some countries voted to save the economy at the beginning of the pandemic, others focused exclusively on protecting people, while there were countries that tried to combine these two directions with more or less success. We do not know the economic statistics yet, but current health statistics are clear. According to them, European countries had the worst performances. When considering death rates per 1 million people, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Belgium are the three countries with the worst performances, but only countries of the “old continent” belong to the top ten list. It can only be mentioned as an interesting fact that this list looked completely different after the pandemic’s first few months. Countries seriously hit by the virus and that topped the list back then have made stronger recoveries.

The best professionals will assess the reasons behind last year’s results. However, one thing is sure: people have made their first round of decisions. Many of them were disappointed by their countries, while others re-evaluated the environments that they did not necessarily appreciate before. These judgements are now visible in the labour market. Employers who move well in international waters can chart new paths for themselves.