Romanian Graduates More Motivated than German Counterparts
Romanian university graduates are self-motivated and optimistic about the future, a survey commissioned by Continental AG has found. Although strongly attached to their home country, they are basically willing to relocate, with a career preference for Western countries and, above all, the United States. On the other hand, they would flatly reject a job offer in neighbouring East European countries like Russia or Ukraine, regardless of how attractive the position might be. Equally unpopular are offers from China or Brazil.
In general students feel they have received a good education although they are said to “greatly regret not having received much practical experience.” Continental is one of the largest investors in Romania and runs plants in Timisoara, Sibiu and Satu Mare.
“Well-educated graduates are a major asset and Eastern Europe has an enormous reservoir of talent. As one of the biggest international investors in Romania and a potential future employer for engineers, natural scientists or business graduates, we are keenly interested in the views young graduates hold with regard to important future issues touching on education, profession and career,” notes Thomas Sattelberger, board member responsible for human resources at Continental.
Continental’s report follows two similar German surveys. The opinion research institute TNS Infratest interviewed a total of 998 college graduates in Romania – 555 of them female and 443 male – in July this year. The survey revealed that a mere 1.7 per cent had studied or done an internship abroad.
Even in their home country, only 43 per cent have had a chance to gather internship experience. “Here something has to change. Despite robust self-confidence the graduates will otherwise not fare well over the long run competing internationally for interesting and attractive jobs,” Sattelberger points out. He noted that Continental had hired 200 engineers in Sibiu this year, in addition to regularly awarding more than 50 internships at the company’s Romanian locations and sponsoring practice-oriented educational programmes at the universities in Timisoara und Sibiu.
The Romanian students exhibit very definite preferences when it comes to their willingness to relocate for a later job assignment. 61 per cent of the graduates queried would “very definitely” or “very likely” work in the US, versus only 17.8 per cent replying with “rather unlikely” or “certainly not.” 50.6 per cent would “very definitely” or “very likely” accept employment in Germany, against 29.6 per cent responding with “rather unlikely” or “certainly not.” The students were quite adamant, on the other hand, in their rejection of a job in Russia and Ukraine (80.8 per cent), China (78.9 per cent) or Brazil (53.9 per cent).
“In a company with global operations, a reluctant to dismissive attitude towards assignments abroad would very negatively affect career planning,” warns Sattelberger. By way of example, he cited the Continental tyre plant in Timisoara, where more than eighty experts from close to a dozen different countries worked together to get operations off and running. “Knowledge of other cultures is a great help in dispelling any fears that may exist, even if these fears are not overtly expressed. This is a task facing both secondary schools and universities. Knowledge of foreign countries lowers the inhibition threshold for entry into the global work world.”