Moldova Haemorrhage: Young Workers Fleeing

A recent study by economist Veaceslav Ioniță reveals a concerning trend: young Moldovans between the ages of 25 and 34 are emigrating at an alarming rate.

Moldova possesses a large pool of capable workers, but most are now employed abroad, lured by the prospect of a better life and higher salaries.

Ioniță points out that the pandemic severely impacted the real sector of Moldova's economy in 2020. While a modest recovery is expected in 2024, the damage to the job market has been significant. The agricultural sector has witnessed the most dramatic decline, with the number of workers plummeting from approximately 770,000 in 2000 to a mere 175,000 in 2020. Another troubling trend is the ageing workforce. As Ioniță explains, "The average employee age has risen from 41.6 years in 2015 to 43.3 years today. Moldova has a shrinking pool of young people in general, and those who remain are increasingly likely to migrate abroad. This trend of an ageing workforce is a cause for serious concern."

The reasons behind this exodus are clear. Interviewees overwhelmingly cited the lack of job opportunities and low wages as the main drivers of emigration. One interviewee explained, "We both came back for the holidays, but we left for a better life, the chance to travel, and a more secure standard of living." Another interviewee stressed the importance of economic development, stating, "Economic development is key. We need to create new jobs and attract foreign investment." Low wages and limited opportunities for career advancement were also identified as contributing factors. As one person pointed out, "Financial reasons are likely the biggest factor, but poor living conditions and uncertainty about the future are also significant push factors."

Ioniță's study underscores a critical challenge facing Moldova. With a shrinking and ageing workforce, the country's economic prospects are under strain. The government must prioritise economic development initiatives that create new jobs, attract foreign investment, and improve living standards. Otherwise, Moldova risks losing a generation of young people who are essential for the country's future.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

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