Medium- and high-tech industries are at the heart of European industry. They bring above-average industry added value per job position and are concentrated mainly in the field of mechatronics and automotive. On the other hand is the lower productive textile sector, which occupies a small share in developed industrial economies and continues to decline under pressure from cheaper competing destinations outside of Europe. Although in recent years the textile sector in Bulgaria has been shrinking, it still occupies a significant share with nearly 1/5 of the jobs in industry. At the regional level, however, there are several areas in which there are more pronounced processes of industrial transformation. They outline the path that Bulgarian industry must take in search of its new industrial identity.
The region that is undergoing the fastest industrial transformation is Plovdiv. Plovdiv leads the ranking of the districts with the fastest growth of jobs in mechatronics and automotive. The jobs of in the sector for the last 5 years have increased by 5877 or 30.9% of the change in the country. The neighboring districts of Plovdiv are also changing: In second place in the country is Haskovo District – with 2400 new jobs in the sector or 12.6% of the change in the country and in third place is Pazardzhik with 2291 jobs or 12.1% of the change.
Bulgaria follows the trends in Eastern Europe for transition to hi-tech manufacturing. The share of Mechatronics and Automotive in the entire industry of the country is 23.4% or 4.2% higher as opposed to 5 years ago. Over the same period, the textile industry decreased as a share of the manufacturing sector by 5.4% and currently amounts to 20.2% of the industry.
For comparison, in our neighboring Romania, Mechatronics and Automotive have grown as a share by 6.1% and reached 34% of the industry, while the textile industry is only 16.8% or 4.5% less than 5 years ago.
Plovdiv also leads the ranking of the highest labor costs in the mechatronics and automotive sectors (According to a study by Capital and Eurostat data), which outlines the trend of increasing wages and quality of life of workers.