Labor shortage bites Romania. Fast food chain McDonalds says it is hiring from Sri Lanka to fill jobs

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American fast food chain McDonalds says it will hire 30 people from Sri Lanka for a two-year pilot project as the company struggles to find staff to fill positions due to a growing labor shortage in Romania.

The company said in a press release Wednesday that the move was a “first for McDonalds and a first for Romania.”

“We are focusing our attention on integrating (the new staff) into our team through multicultural training programs.”

It said a team had traveled to Sri Lanka to recruit the staff who will work at three Bucharest restaurants.

It said it faced staff shortages and promised  “an intense and long-term investment” in the employees which it plans to hire for a two-year period, “ said Irina Ignătescu, HR Director, Premier Restaurants Romania.

Millions of Romanians have moved abroad in recent years to find better-paying jobs which has left Romania with a labor shortage.

In the first ten years after Romania joined the European Union, Romania employed an average of 1,400 to 2,900 foreign workers annually, of which 400-600 were from Turkey and China.

Romania’s total workforce is 5.1 million, but it lacks an estimated 300,000 workers, according to industry groups.

There are almost 3,000 Vietnamese workers with permits in Romania, according to Vietnamese authorities, many living in container cities on the edge of cities. In Romania, they can earn three times what they’d earn in Vietnam.

Romania also has foreign workers from the Philippines, Thailand and Nepal.

Last year, Romania’s government adopted a decree that increased quotas for non-EU foreign workers in 2019 up to 20,000 work permits, an all-time high number, as there is higher demand from local companies claiming they are affected by the workforce crisis.

McDonalds opened four new outlets in 2019 and plans to open another eight next year.

McDonalds opened its first restaurant in Bucharest in the 1990s, and currently has 84 restaurants in 25 Romanian towns and cities. It says it serves 230,000 customers every day.

McDonalds Romania is part of the Premier Capital company, along with McDonalds Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta.


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