Commentary

Government Wants to Reeducate Bureaucrats Into Nurses

The government wants to cut back bureaucracy for the umpteenth time. But this time their unchecked post-communist inclinations are visible to the naked eye: they plan to reeducate the fired public servants and send them into sectors suffering from shortage of workers. Just like that.   

The government wants to cut back bureaucracy for the umpteenth time. If their efforts go as usual, there will be even more bureaucrats when they finish.

What sets this drive apart from the previous ten such bureaucracy cutting, however, is planning to reeducate fired bureaucrats into hospital workers because there’s a shortage of those. You heard it right. Your next IV drip might be fitted by a former project manager of the office of agriculture or some such place.

9000 public servants (that’s about 15-20% of the affected institutions) are planned to get the boot in November and they are stressed out AF in anticipation. The government announced the “caring downsizing” and the “Career bridge” program, which already sound expensive to begin with, and also a bit condescending. Politicians talking down to public servants and gently suggesting them to start a company or go work in the private sector.

The problem is, however, that the private sector could already have poached them if they so wished, because wages in the private sector are much higher. And so are the demands of employers. Active language skills are a must, for instance, whereas public sector only counts language exams to calculate salary top-ups. Mindless administrative jobs without any particular special skills are perhaps what could suit many fired bureaucrats, but those make up only 4% of private sector jobs and every skill-less graduate is looking for those, anyway. The work culture and client-centered workplaces are also not exactly a good match to bureaucrats, say HR specialists. The private sector is missing way more than 9000 people but it’s hard to see whether fired government officials would be a quality fix.

Enter the other leg of the “Career bridge”. The government’s central planners brainstormed a little (very little) and saw the millions of articles written about the crippling labor shortage in sectors such as health care. And the solution was immediately clear before their little eyes: reeducate admin comrades to administer IV drips. What they forgot is that health care workers are notoriously underpaid in Hungary – as opposed to Western Europe. It would thus be unlikely that reeducated comrades would stay in the country. Even if their paper-pushing attitude could magically turn into anything that makes them employable in caregiving.

Another leg of the Plan is called “Restart-up” and wants bureaucrats to start companies “from their hobbies”. (I’m not kidding.)

Central planning comrades of old communist times are spinning in their graves in pure delight that their approach finally gets the stamp of approval of Fidesz and the new de facto state Party.

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