The number of Bulgarian employees with knowledge-intensive jobs has grown from 155, 200 in 2012 to 194, 600 in 2019, says ‘The Geography of Europe’s Brain Business Jobs: 2020 Index’, a new report by the European Centre for Entrepreneurship and Policy Reform (ECEPR). Unsurprisingly, 73% of these, almost 40, 000, new jobs have been created in the ICT sector.
What counts as a knowledge-intensive job?
For the purposes of the research, there are four main categories – Tech sector (High-tech manufacturing, Engineering and Architecture, R&D, and Pharmaceuticals), ICT (Telco, IT Services, Programming), Advanced services (Head office management and Market research/ advertising), and Creative professions (Publishing, Film/TV/ Music, and Design and other creative work).
Compared to 30 other European countries, Bulgaria has a strong foothold in design and other creative professions, IT services, telecommunications, programming, as well as the pharmaceutical sector. On the other side of the spectrum, relative weaknesses can be found in engineering, R&D, publishing, and head offices and management.
Will Sofia turn into a European hub for knowledge-intensive jobs?
According to another predictable revelation, the strongest region in the country is the capital Sofia with 10.1% of the local working population employed in knowledge-intensive jobs. To the other extremity is Northwestern Bulgaria with just 0.9% taking up a knowledge-intensive role.
Sofia actually has the third-fastest growth rate of knowledge-intensive jobs in Europe and as a matter of fact, four of the top five regions with the highest increase are located in Central and Eastern Europe. The report explains this with the supply of talent, competitive wages, and the observation that more and more firms in Northern and Western Europe subcontract part of knowledge-intensive work to partner with companies CEE.