Competitive Workforce

At the annual AmCham Policy Agenda Strategic Discussion the AmCham leadership decided to consolidate two highly interrelated PTFs – Talent and Healthy Nation – by creating the new Competitive Workforce PTF. This new professional group will work with the membership in order to widen the labor market supply in Hungary and to promote mental and physical health awareness programs, among others.


"To represent the needs of businesses regarding the Hungarian talent pool in order to improve Hungary’s long-term competitiveness."

For PTF meeting dates please click here.


  • 1.) Widen labor supply and make the labor market more flexible, in order to ensure business continuity;
  • 2.) Support wide-scale promotion of key competencies and skills in education;
  • 3.) Support programs enhancing mental and physical health awareness;
  • 4.) Make Hungary an attractive employer brand.

For further information please see our Policy Agenda 2017-2020 publication, a strategic document compiled to detail the challenges, the recommendations and the commitments of AmCham's Policy Task Forces. . 

Main Achievements and Activities in 2017

Regular Dialogue Continued With Decision-makers

The Competitive Workforce PTF continued its dialogue with key decision makers from the Ministry of Human Capacities (EMMI), the Ministry for National Economy (NGM) and the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK) on how to make the public education and vocational training system more competitive in Hungary, in line with the below recommendations incorporated in the “Cooperation For A More Competitive Hungary 2017” package (among others):

  • to widen the labor market supply
  • to revise the training aid system
  • to support with an appropriate budget the transformation of the public education system in order to enhance focus on developing key competencies
  • to change the vocational training contribution system
  • to extend the digital labor market
  • to equally support dual education and dual vocational education

In April, AmCham’s Competitive Workforce PTF organized meetings with State Secretary for Labor Market and Training Péter Cseresnyés and with Gáborné Pölöskei, Deputy State Secretary for Vocational Training and Adult Education of the Ministry for National Economy, to discuss AmCham’s recommendations and areas of future cooperation with the participation of member companies.

In May, AmCham supported the execution of research that was conducted by the Ministry for National Economy to survey the scope and focus of corporate training at large international companies. The ministry planned the revision of the adult education system by identifying the needs and the best practices of the corporate sector.

In September, AmCham also supported the establishment of industry specific Sector Skill Councils. The main objective of the ministry is to better incorporate industry expertise and labor market expectations into the system of vocational training and adult training. By creating this platform, industry representatives can provide structured input. AmCham will closely follow the work of the Skill Councils, which are coordinated by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Need For Flexible Employment Schemes

Several member companies are considering, or already have introduced remote work schemes for their employees. Understanding this trend, AmCham presented its concerns about the current regulatory environment to State Secretary István Lepsényi at its regular working group meeting with the Ministry for National Economy in July. As a follow-up, the State Secretariat for Labor Market worked out modifications to the Act XCIII of 1993 on Labor Safety. The Competitive Workforce PTF, together with the Regulatory Committee, reviewed the planned modification, and suggestions were sent to the ministry in early September. The ministry was very open and accepted several of our arguments. The planned legislation, which is in the pipeline, will reflect AmCham’s input. The new law would provide clearer guidelines on the scope of responsibility, with special regards to the obligation of the employer for preliminary evaluation of suitability of home office working conditions and would grant exemption of responsibility for the employer in a situation where the employer has no influence over certain circumstances.

Policy Progress In Several Areas

As a result of high level and expert level consultations with decision makers, we recognize several new policy measures and government initiatives that are in line with our recommendations.

  • Increased support for dual education in higher-level education.
  • Increased focus on raising the efficiency of language learning in public education
  • Introduction of a Career Orientation Day in public education.
  • Industry specific Sector Skill Councils have been established so that industry players can provide regular and structured input for a more competitive and up-to-date (vocational) training system and curricula.
  • The planned legislation of the modification of the Law on Labor Safety impacting the regulatory framework of remote work, reflects AmCham’s input. In the second half of 2017, further, expert level consultations continued about specific regulatory issues important for our members.

AmCham advocacy success regarding the procedure for the licensing of third-country employees

AmCham has been advocating for the further facilitation of the employment of non-EU (third country) residents, as a means to widen the labor supply in Hungary. AmCham sent its position to the Ministry for National Economy in October and recommended that the employment licensing procedure of third-country employees needs to be simplified and speeded up. A simplified licensing procedure is applied when less than 5% of employees are from a third-country. AmCham sent several suggestions to the current licensing procedure, including the elevation of the aforementioned threshold to 10%. AmCham welcomes this policy success and will continue its advocacy work in order to make licensing procedure more favorable for companies.

Summer Internship For Hungarian Students Studying Abroad

AmCham has been advocating for the need for reducing the administrative barriers that Hungarian students studying abroad face when applying for internship positions in Hungary. Based on consultations with Engame Academy (education center for students applying for foreign universities), AmCham suggestions were developed and shared with the Ministry for National Economy in October. AmCham’s position is that an increased availability and a more favourable administrative framework of summer internship programs would be an important factor to maintain ties with Hungarians studying abroad and therefore can be an effective instrument in attracting talent back to Hungary.

Flagship Event: The Third “Competitive Education Conference”

In May 2017, AmCham together with HIPA organized the third “Competitive Education Conference” titled “How To Sell Your Company To Your Future Employees”, with the professional support of the Ministry for Human Capacities and the Ministry for National Economy. The half day conference was highly successful in attracting more than 200 participants from relevant stakeholder groups and in providing a platform for constructive dialogue on a number of topics, including: how to inspire young people to return to Hungary, how Hungary could become more attractive for young talents, how companies could adapt to the new demands and expectations of the employees, and what the education system can do to reduce the gap between the skills of the graduates and company expectations. 

Opening remarks by Dr Boglárka Illés, Deputy State Secretary for Youth and Equal Opportunities

For more information on the event, please click here. 

Sharing Best Practices

In February, Fanni Szigeti, representative of the “Women In Science” Foundation gave an inspiring presentation to members of the Competitive Workforce PTF and discussed best practices on how all stakeholders can help the successful orientation of girls and women to STEM careers.

Family Friendly Companies Campaign And Award

AmCham has been a supporting partner of a campaign to find Hungary’s most Family Friendly Companies for many years now. The competition, run by the Három Királyfi, Három Királylány Mozgalom (Three Princes, Three Princesses Movement), is open to both multinationals and domestic businesses. The prize is awarded to companies that have humanistic and supportive company cultures and which, furthermore, are committed to support work-life balance within their own organizations. They should take particular care of their employees with small children. AmCham endorses the Three Princes, Three Princesses Movement and regularly shares information with its members on the Family Friendly Company competition and award.

Disability-Friendly Workplace Award

AmCham endorses and supports the Disability-Friendly Workplace Award that was initiated and organized by the Salva Vita Foundation with the aim of bringing together job seekers with disabilities and those employers who are ready to employ them. The award is granted jointly by the Ministry of Human Capacities, AmCham Hungary, the EFQM Hungarian Partner and Salva Vita for employers who meet the tender criteria.

Main Achievements and Activities in 2016

The Competitive Workforce PTF organized regular meetings for member company representatives to discuss advocacy issues related to a competitive education system and share best practices.

Regular dialogue continued with decision-makers

The Competitive Workforce PTF continued its dialogue with key decision makers from the Ministry of Human Capacities (EMMI), the Ministry for National Economy (NGM) and the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK) on making the public education and vocational training system more competitive in Hungary.

Dual vocational training system

On January 11, deputy state secretary for vocational and adult education, László Odrobina and his colleagues from NGM were special guests at an extraordinary Talent PTF meeting, where discussion focused on the dual vocational training system.

On February 10, AmCham, represented by its President Ferenc Pongrácz, CEO Írisz Lippai-Nagy, Talent PTF co-lead László Szépkuti and other members, had an official meeting at MKIK with president László Parragh and educational and vocational training director János Szilágyi to discuss strategic level cooperation in a number of issues.

On February 24, the Talent PTF meeting was held,  where MKIK’s educational and vocational training director gave a presentation on the chamber’s goals and activities with a special focus on vocational training.

National Register of Vocational Qualification (OKJ) program

On January 12, representatives of the Talent PTF met deputy state secretary Odrobina and colleagues to continue discussions on the introduction of new training courses and qualifications (OKJ program) in order to better satisfy the needs of SSCs and the FMCG industry. AmCham is very proud to report that the ministry has incorporated our recommendations, and in July announced the addition of two new categories – “business services associate in the SSC” and “sales representative in the FMCGs sectors” – to the revised National Register of Vocational Qualifications.

“Cooperation for a More Competitive Hungary” – 2016 recommendation package

For more information on the "Cooperation for a more competitve Hungary 2016" recommendation package please click here. 

Sharing Best Practices

The Talent PTF is committed to share best practices within the membership, therefore we facilitated a number of meetings to this end:

  • 24 February: Presentation on Digital education, focusing on Microsoft Hungary’s experiences and the “Okosportál” project, presented by Ádám Merényi, educational business unit leader from Microsoft
  • May: Digital Education Strategy survey and strategy. The Talent PTF circulated an online educational survey, the goal of which was to evaluate Hungary’s preparedness for digital education reform and to provide input for the Digital Education Strategy, as part of the so-called Digital Welfare Program led by Tamás Deutsch.
  • October 17: Talent shortage and workforce retention in key jobs - Joint meeting of the HR Committee and the Talent Policy Task Force. AmCham Hungary supported research conducted by Pivot Human Capital and the Szent István University to examine talent shortage and retention in key jobs in Hungary. The most important findings of the survey were presented to AmCham members.

Future Goals

In 2018, the Competitive Workforce Policy Task Force plans to:

  • Continue to work closely with our government partners (Ministry for National Economy, Ministry of Human Capacities, HIPA);
  • Provide a platform for regular and meaningful dialogue between all stakeholders on education and labor market issues;
  • Advocate for a more competitive labor force and education system, based on recommendations prepared at the third “Business Meets Government Summit”, and the third “Competitive Education Conference”;
  • Organize a Competitive Workforce event in 2018;
  • Present and share best practices and focus on activities/projects that show the right track towards the future;
  • Promote active participation of companies in collaborative programs with educational institutions;
  • Develop programs and activities to attract and help integrate young Hungarian graduates of foreign universities to the Hungarian labor market.

Competitive Workforce PTF initiated programs:

Language Ambassador and Career Ambassador Programs

With the objective to bring real life examples to schools, AmCham has continued the highly successful Language Ambassador Program. Since its launch in 2011

  • we have reached 130 high schools from 26 cities
  • involved 240 Language Ambassadors from 59 different companies
  • almost 490 lectures were given
  • In 2016, nearly 70 visits have been organized

In 2015 we also launched the Career Ambassador Program that gives students the opportunity to visit our member companies, in an effort to better familiarize them with the type of jobs on the labor market. Since its launch 

  • 10 companies hosted 30 visits from 22 different schools
  • more than 450 students participated in total

Participating companies in the Career Ambassador Program are: 

  • CITI
  • ExxonMobil Budapest BSC
  • GE
  • HPE
  • Jabil Circuit Magyarország
  • KPMG
  • Lexmark

 Demand for both the Language and Career Ambassador Programs is at an all-time high, but we believe there is always room for more! We encourage our members to join these initiatives.

Tudsz Jobbat! Creative Competition for High School Students

An important pillar of AmCham’s “Cooperation for a More Competitive Hungary” concerns the fully-fledged reform of education. Therefore, as part of a joint initiative with HIPA, EMMI, and NGM, a nationwide competition called “Tudsz Jobbat!” (“You Know Better!”) was launched in August. The competitions was sent to all high schools in Hungary, with AmCham looking for teams of 3-5 students who were willing to stand up and present their thoughts and ideas in a creative form (projects, videos or presentations) about how they imagine the future of education and workplaces.

 Tudsz Jobbat! Competition –  Project in numbers

  • 39 submissions in two categories
  • 27 applications – “School of my dreams”
  • 12 applications – “Workplace of my dreams”
  • 39 participating schools
  • 199 participating students
  • 54 participating teachers

Second Competitive Education Conference

The best projects were presented on October 11 at the second “Competitive Education Conference” organized by AmCham Hungary and HIPA, EMMI and NGM, at Akvárium Klub in front of government representatives, business leaders and 250 students from all over the country.

The awards ceremony was followed by a roundtable discussion where students, teachers, industry experts and government representatives including State Secretary for Education László Palkovics and Deputy State Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education László Odrobina exchanged their thoughts on possible next steps in making the education system more competitive. During the conference, students also received career orientation firsthand at the 12 interactive educational booths, set up by company representatives and educational experts.

“Workplace of my dreams” category:
I. place: Waking Dreams Co. Team (Bálint Márton Elementary and Secondary School)
"School of my dreams" category:
I. place: The Future is Ours Team (Kosztolányi Dezső Secondary School)
II. place: TeamWolf  (Alternatív Közgazdasági Gimnázium)
III. place: IT Class Team (Salgótarjáni SZC Borbély Lajos Szakgimnáziuma, Szakközépiskolája, Szakiskolája és Kollégiuma)

The winning teams received prizes, including the opportunity to "shadow" a business leader or a government representative for a day at one of the following organizations: Ministry of Human Capacities, the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency, Morgan Stanley, Celanese and at Flextronics.

Students came up with numerous suggestions that can be grouped into three main categories: (I) infrastructure/digitalization, environment, tools; (II) curriculum, methodology; and (III) social sensitivity. AmCham will include the ideas of the students in its revised version of the 19-point recommendation package.

Policy Task Force Lead: Ms. Andrea Juhos
Policy Task Force Co-Lead: Dr. Judit Zolnay 


LHH Magyarország, Career Consultants Kft.

Andrea Juhos Dr.


LHH Magyarország, Career Consultants Kft.
36 1 392-5070
MetLife Hungary

Dr. Judit Zolnay


MetLife Hungary



+36 1 428-2089

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