Working conditions in Romania

More than half of the people working in Romania report poor working conditions, a 2005 survey by the National Institute of Statistics reveals. The survey identifies differences in perceived working conditions between the public and private sectors, and assesses key factors contributing to people’s job satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

According to the Living Conditions Survey (ACOVI), carried out in 2005 by the National Institute of Statistics (Institutul National de Statistica, INS), more than half of people in employment complain of adverse working conditions: some 30.5% mention excessive heat; 20.7% are affected by air pollution, gases and dust; 14% refer to painful working positions (backache, eyestrain); excessive cold affects 12.3% of respondents; and 13.3% complain of an unhygienic working environment.

Between 2002 and 2005, environment and production related health-risk factors seem to have had an increasingly negative impact on working conditions (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Percentage of workers reporting unfavourable working conditions

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Source: ACOVI, INS, Bucharest, pp. 208–209

Differences between private and public sectors

The ACOVI survey revealed different perceptions regarding working conditions between the private and public sectors (see Figures 2 and 3). Employment is decreasing in the public sector as a result of the privatisation process; employees of public institutions in education, research, health and administration represent more than 90% of the total in this sector and, thus, determine the survey results.

Figure 2: Percentage of people employed in private sector reporting unfavourable working conditions

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Source: ACOVI, INS, Bucharest, pp. 208–209

Figure 3: Percentage of people employed in public sector reporting unfavourable working conditions

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Source: ACOVI, INS, Bucharest, pp. 208–209

Main complaints

Over a third of people working in the public and state sector complain of stress and physical fatigue, while more than six out of every 10 persons in the private sector find their job exhausting. Looking at the figures for the total economy, the number of employees affected by stress and fatigue decreased slightly between 2002 and 2005. However, workers in the public sector noted an increase in monotony and in fatigue, although their perception of stress decreased by 12% over the three-year period (Table 1).

Table 1: Opinion of workers on job and workplace (% of total employment)
Opinion of workers on job and workplace (% of total employment)
  Year The job is:
stressful monotonous, repetitive physically exerting
Total economy 2002 20.9 13.6 55.7
2005 19.2 13.8 54.5
Public sector 2002 35.2 10.4 33.6
2005 31.0 11.3 35.1
Private sector 2002 15.3 14.6 63.9
2005 15.3 14.7 61.1

Source: ACOVI, INS, Bucharest, 2006, p. 225

Sources of dissatisfaction

People in employment are mainly dissatisfied with their income, according to the survey results: 51.7% of respondents expressed discontent in this regard in 2004, increasing to 54.5% in 2005.

Dissatisfaction concerning income was greater in the private sector, compared with workers in public and state-owned companies (Figure 4); and the percentage of those dissatisfied is on the rise.

Figure 4: Percentage of workers declaring dissatisfaction with job-related aspects, 2005

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Source: ACOVI, INS, Bucharest, 2006, p. 64

Working conditions represent the second highest job-related aspect causing dissatisfaction, with an increasing number of respondents citing this particular reason. Working time (i.e. number of working hours) is more of an issue in the private sector, where 21%–23% of workers indicated that this was unsatisfactory, compared with only 4%–5% of workers in the public sector.

Some 20% of people employed in the private sector felt anxious about job security, while employees in the public and state sector declared that they felt relatively safe in this respect.

About the study

The Living Conditions Survey (ACOVI), carried out by INS in 2005, was organised as statistical selective research, using a two-stage sampling plan. Data were collected by means of a face to face interview conducted in 10,920 surveyed dwellings at national level.

The survey is only available in Romanian and as a printed edition.

Constantin Ciutacu, Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy

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