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Labor Force

Companies that choose Plovdiv as their investment destination have access to human capital, consisting of well prepared workers and specialists who can create value for various manufacturing and service sectors.The labor market in Plovdiv has been more robust than most other regions in Bulgaria since the onset of the global economic crisis. Plovdiv district has an activity rate for 2015 (ratio of the number of the labor force aged 15-64 to the number of people in the same age group) of 68.8% or a rise of 2.7 p.p. since 2008. The unemployment rate fell with 3.5 p.p. since 2014. However, in the age group 15 – 64 there are still 30 000 registered as unemployed, as well as 138 000 people who are currently economically inactive.
There are approximately 70 000 jobs in the manufacturing sector or 34% of all employed in the Plovdiv district. Plovdiv is also the district with most people working in the manufacturing sector in Bulgaria. In addition to the production of food, drinks and cigarettes (20% of all manufacturing jobs) and textile, apparel & leather (20% of industrial jobs), Plovdiv has specialized in the production of metals and metal parts, chemical products, automotive, machinery and equipment. Plovdiv has a long-lasting tradition in producing computer, optical, electronic and electrical equipment, which employ almost 6 200 people or 9% of all employed in the manufacturing sector.Plovdiv also has competitive edge in furniture, paper and wood manufacturing, whose exports from Bulgaria surged in the post-crisis period.

Plovdiv has a well-developed service sector, which complements the local manufacturing cluster. The service sector in Plovdiv is closely linked to the local industry and provides all the high-quality services a manufacturing company might need. About 33 000 employees are working in retail, but there are also 10 000 construction workers and more than 13 000 transport and logistics specialists. Plovdiv has also one of the best developed business service sectors in Bulgaria.The labor force in Plovdiv is very diverse according to the qualification of employees. Plovdiv employs 26 500 skilled industrial workers and 17 317 technicians. The labor force is specialized but nevertheless readily adaptable and can easily work in different segments of industrial production.

Wages by segment

In services, wages on average are highest in information technology, one of the fastest growing industries in recent years, providing opportunities for highly skilled labor. Hiring labor for the “light industries” such as manufacturing of food and beverages as well as clothing and shoes is on average cheaper than employing a worker in the “heavy” industries, which typically require more specialized skills and knowledge, such as manufacturing of machines and equipment or metal parts. By occupations, wages for specialists incl. engineers, are two times higher than those for skilled workers.

Wages in manufacturing, both in Plovdiv district and Bulgaria in general, typically have a slightly higher growth rate than the average. Even though Plovdiv has one of the highest wage growth rates in manufacturing (7.9% per year), wages in absolute terms are still lower than those in Sofia, Varna, Burgas and Stara Zagora. The total cost of labor includes the salary of the worker and the contributions to the state budget which both the employee and the employer have to make. In 2018 the labor costs in manufacturing are expected to be still one of the most competitive in Europe. The total cost of hiring an entry level production assembly worker will be about €520 per month. Labor cost for workers without qualification will start from €430, while those for the administrative positions will start from €650 and will typically increase up to €900 for skilled administrative staff.