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Published: 4 week

Where gross is net: student work is even more attractive

The tax exemption for under-25s has boosted the student job market, increasing the propensity to seek employment among under-25s. Hourly wages are still highest in and around Budapest and in skilled jobs (IT, foreign languages). The seasonality is particularly marked for high school graduates and, of course, this is the time of year when most seasonal jobs open up in tourism and catering, as well as beach and festival jobs. We asked school professionals about current trends and the most important things to know about student employment.

diákmunka, iskolaszövetkezet, hírlevél-

Exemption from tax: those who receive the gross amount



According to school union leaders interviewed by HR Portal, the VAT exemption for under-25s has boosted students' motivation to work, boosting this segment of the labour market, which is no wonder, as the law means that students under 25 will now receive their gross wages. The decision has also resulted in an increase in the number of young people taking up jobs and the number of hours worked, said Nándor Majzik, head of the Meló-Diák company, "the number of students working has increased by about 5%. In addition, the number of hours worked has also increased, which is a significant result considering that more than half of the students in higher education are already working."



Employment through school cooperatives was one of the most favourable forms of employment in the past, because young people working through them were only subject to the 15% VAT payment obligation, and still are, over the age of 25, with no further contribution obligations.



Sometimes this tax relief can create wage tension within a company, but experts say that with proper communication this tension can be reduced, and it should also be taken into account that students' main job is to study and they also work on certain days and limited hours, which do not bring benefits such as sick pay or holidays that full-time employees are entitled to. It is also worth remembering that the tax exemption is a state decision, a legal decision, i.e. it is not the employer who gives the option.



You can't earn less than this: minimum hourly wage of HUF 1534



No student can earn less than this, because it is the minimum hourly wage. This means that the increase in the minimum wage last year has also increased the wages for student work, but the season will not bring any further increase, said Róbert Göbl, head of the Mind-Diák cooperative: "Basically, the summer student work season does not usually bring an increase in wages compared to the winter or spring season, as there is an over-subscription in this period. The majority of students take advantage of the capacity freed up during the summer holidays and look for ways to earn money. At Mind-Skills Cooperative, we typically see an average number of applicants from mid-July onwards, as the majority start applying for student jobs - or, where appropriate, start working - in the spring/summer months. Some young people take on casual student jobs for just a few weeks or days, but many work all summer."

Some young people start their summer jobs in early spring or early fall, while others start their summer jobs in the summer.

"Seasonal demand varies from region to region and area to area, but in general there is a 30-50% increase compared to the mid-year demand level," added Nándor Majzik.

Hourly wages are basically determined by location, sector, nature of the job and skills. Wages in Budapest and its surroundings are generally higher than in rural areas. "Organizations around Budapest generally offer higher hourly wages to students, as the market is more saturated here, and there can be serious competition for student labour", says Ákos Margitics, branch manager of WHC Student Cooperative.



The salary ranges indicated by professionals are as follows:




  • Light manual, elementary unskilled or administrative work: £1600-1900/hour

  • Trainee positions requiring specialist knowledge, language skills: 1800-3000 Ft/hour



Rozália Tóth, board member of Prohumán Diákmunka, added: "In engineering and IT fields, hourly wages are slightly higher, up to HUF 3,500 gross, and for heavy manual work, hourly wages above HUF 2,000 are more typical, and even up to HUF 2,800 gross for such work."



By region:




  • Country: £1640

  • Southern Hungary: 1750 Ft

  • Northern Hungary: 1850 Ft

  • Budapest and Pest county: 1950 HUF By the end of 2023, the average hourly wage in Győr-Moson-Sopron, Komárom-Esztergom, Fejér and Zala counties, as well as in the capital and Pest county, will have already exceeded 2000 HUF.



Most popular positions and what employers still need



In the summer, there is an understandable increase in job opportunities in tourism, catering and retail, which is also a popular area for young people. Róbert Göbl highlighted the following popular positions in these areas. He also mentioned that, in addition to the above, agricultural and food industry sectors, as well as production plants, logistics centres and larger SSCs are also keen to welcome students for the summer period, and it is a common experience that if the student "makes it", they are later employed not only seasonally, but also on a longer-term basis, for 20-30 hours per week."



Akos Margitics added that many companies also use student work to cover for holidays:"In addition to the classic beach, festival and catering jobs, we also provide a large number of student jobs in production companies during this period. Many manufacturing companies solve the problem of summer holidays with this form of employment. In addition, many employers support their own employees by offering their children the opportunity to work through summer jobs, in an effort to promote employer branding. For example, young people can try their hand in an environment that is already familiar to their parents."

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According to Rozália Tóth, it is worth making a distinction between young workers under 18 and over 18: "The most popular jobs for high school students are still in retail, catering and one-day physical jobs, where they can expect flexible working hours and competitive wages. However, longer-term, more stable traineeships are now popular with students. Experience shows that the greatest demand is currently for young people with technical, IT and business qualifications".



How school cooperatives recruit



Student unions are taking a number of opportunities to reach young people. They try to reach them through the channels that are most relevant to them. So the most popular platforms are social media, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, but WHC also organises, for example, offline information sessions, classroom tutors' classes, where students are informed about employment opportunities and the pitfalls of the labour market. At Meló-Diák, too, the emphasis is on online methods, with presence at festivals and university events seen as a good way to raise awareness. At Prohuman Student Work they also believe in personal contact through a variety of forums. They see real value in students recommending the cooperative to each other based on their experience.

Job opportunities for foreign students



For foreign students studying in an educational institution in Hungary, legislation gives them the opportunity to work alongside their studies, including through cooperatives. They can work 30 hours a week during term time and 40 hours a week outside term time. The experience of employing foreign students varies from one school cooperative to another. According to Rozália Tóth, member of the board of directors of Prohumán Diákmunka, foreign students are still a narrow group of students in employment, but there is growing interest in them, especially in the field of language and cultural services.

Akos Margitics, branch manager at WHC Student Union, says the recruitment market is still narrow on the employer side, although he is also seeing some growth:"There are currently 12,000 students studying in Hungary, including through the Stipendium Hungaricum programme, and they are showing a great interest in employment. These students speak very good English, are flexible and very reliable if we find them a suitable job. And here the emphasis is on the if. Unfortunately, we see that the uptake from the employer side is very low so far, but it shows some growth every year.""



Robert Göbl, head of Mind-Diak, said that last month they welcomed students from 54 countries to do internships organised by the company. "The general experience is that in most cases they are welcomed by SSCs (large business service centres) and international companies. Another problem in many companies is that the person in charge of the job or their immediate supervisor does not speak the language, so the options are more limited for foreigners who do not speak Hungarian," he noted.



Mándor Nándor Majzik, head of Meló-Ddiák, also focused on language problems:"The lack of Hungarian language skills means that their opportunities are narrower, they find jobs mainly in the office services sector, manufacturing and agriculture. Their share is increasing year by year, as Hungarian-speaking students would no longer take certain jobs or would only take them for disproportionately high hourly wages."






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