Mindset change is essential for all parties to reactivate 50+ job seekers

  • October 18, 2017
During recent years as part of our Competitiveness Initiative and the work of the Talent Policy Task Force, AmCham Hungary identified the major workforce issues currently facing Hungary, such as the lack of skilled blue-collar workers or IT professionals, the wide salary gap between western European workplaces and Hungary and the exclusion of 50+ job seekers from the talent pipeline. During 2017 the HR committee does not plan to ask any more questions: it’s time to take action and offer SOLUTIONS, as much as we can.

As part of our quest for solutions in 2017, we hosted our fourth roundtable on October 5 to discuss the current and prospective situation of 50+ employees with Anikó Pethő, co-founder of Restart-up, Zsuzsa Gárdus, managing director of JobsGarden, István Kun, President of Meló-Diák and Bence Husi, marketing and communications manager of Viapan Group. The discussion was moderated by Zsolt Fehér, chairman of the HR committee.

"According to Eurostat data, there were 87 million 65+ people in Europe in 2012 and this figure will go up to 123 million by 2030. As a career coach and headhunter, I work with many of these generations who are struggling with their career change, simply saying many of them cannot switch or find a new job. We all agreed it is because both parties' expectations are far from each other" - claimed Zsuzsa Gárdus.

"How this negative trend could be transformed into a new and positive path? We have come to a conclusion with my fellow speakers that mindset change is essential for each stakeholder and the topic needs more focus" - she added.

The roundtable identified the most pressing issues with 50+ employees, these are the lack of foreign language skills, often outdated job skills, confidence and self-assessment issues, and high salary expectations. Retraining, senior mentoring programs and coaching are just some of the ways their careers may be prolonged, but what about those who had already retired?

Today, there are 2 million pensioners in Hungary, 65% of them are willing to work; however only 400.000 are active earners. 

Retired Cooperative

The Retired Cooperative Szomszédok is one of the organizations founded to tackle these issues. This nationwide network was established to reactivate those pensioners who are eager to reenter the job market, allowing members to benefit from their expertise and work experience in a safe and secure way to gain income in addition to their pensions. Similar to employment agencies for students, the Cooperative opened offices all over the country and work exclusively with reliable and flexible companies to ensure security for their members.

"A new organization, the retired cooperative offers a great opportunity for pensioners who are still ready and able to work. These people can become active earners again, occupy themselves, feel useful, moreover, they can share their knowledge and vast experience whereas companies and institutions are able to use this platform to reach a flexible and motivated workforce with a high level skillset. Our mission here at the Neighbours Retired Cooperative Network (Szomszédok Nyugdíjas Szövetkezeti Hálózat) is to coordinate all efforts to realize these goals" - said István Kun, President of Meló-Diák.

"At Viapan Group, we place workers from all generations (from students to retired) at our partners. From 2017 legislation in Hungary allows employers to hire retired people with huge advantages regarding employment costs. With our Retired Cooperative "Szomszédok" hundreds of thousands retired employees will return to labor - said Bence Husi -  This means we enter into an age like never seen before, where most generations will work together in companies."

"As we see, however, most 50+ people have no disadvantages because of their age but rather everyone in an organization is affected by the miscommunication of these generations. With better leadership and programs dedicated to mixing these different people into working groups, this gap can be narrowed" - Husi added.

Since August, 600 pensioners found work through the Retired Cooperative.


Companies often fail to realize that their messages do not necesserily resonate with the 45+ employees, therefore they cannot connect with a large source of talent. Restart-Up is a community program established to solve this crucial problem and support the job hunt of highly educated, highly skilled, highly experienced 45+ workers who speak foreign languages by connecting supply and demand.

"The Restart-up sees the efficiency of integration of the middle-aged in that both the employers and the employees need to be trained as well as need their view to be changed for the better. Draw attention of the organizations to the importance of diversity when it comes to competitiveness, increase of efficiency, long-term plannable workforce, complementary values and the capacity of gathered knowledge - said Anikó Pethő, one of the founders of the program - Our aim with this program is to implement our view directly into the core values of the organizations. Only afterwards can we start to expand the channels of recruitment resulting in the increasing involvement of the middle-aged on the labor market."

More information


The HR Academy hosts its next roundtable discussion featuring global HR executive Hari Abburi about the Agile HR model.  Hari’s thinking on the Agile HR Model is a global benchmark and being talked about as the Future of HR. He works with CEOs and CHROs to identify opportunities to be Agile in Organizations, Leaders, Culture and Human Resources. He has well-rounded experience in strategy, leadership and change across industry sectors in the context of M&A’s, Integrations, Start-Ups involving complex change management at regional and global levels. His work, approaches, design thinking and solutions are often described as creative, innovative, unconventional and are anchored by simplicity. He has keen interest in emerging technologies and their interface with people. 

Our special guest speaker is arranged by AmCham members Csaba Csényi, founder of Ambiance Regional Consulting and Judit Ábri, founder of Coaching Határok Nélkül.

Click here to learn more about the event!