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A tourist was walking about a Japanese country when he came across two heavily armed samurai with swards who were dressed in kimono. He asked them “Who are you?” “Well, we are the Seven Samurai”, they answered. “How’s that possible – there are only two of you?” he gasped in amazement.” You know, there’s deficiency of people.”

Although this is just a joke, I hear it almost every day and what’s more, people say it in earnest. From clients-employers, colleagues-consultants, successful entrepreneurs, anxious managers, from many articles, recently even from worried for the future of economics interlocutors in most casual situations: taxi, queue in front of the ski-lift, at the doctor’s cabinet.

It’s true that there aren’t enough people. In fact the problem is that the right people are lacking, no mater how segregating it sounds, they are lacking at all levels and in all industries.

In the beginning it was “there aren’t managers”, then “there aren’t people in the IT branch”, then we went through “there aren’t engineers and maintenance personnel”, “no commercial travelers”, “there aren’t enough technical leaders for the object”, “no skilled workers”, “there’s nobody to…”. Recently, I saw a note on an empty stand: “I need people for help”.

I don’t know whether it is a relief or an excuse that the problem with qualified cadres is deepening on a global scale, especially for the developed economics. But just in case the decision in Bulgaria is neither another “promotion” of applying for a green card in the USA nor a reporting of the crises for programmers in Germany with the promise for a citizenship, or an article about the wonderful life of emigrants in Canada or about how desperately the British need medical workers.

For the common sense there always are possible options to make up for the deficiency with some internal changes.

According to an official statistic data for the last year, the unemployment came down to a level at which only the ones who do not want to work, stay unemployed for a longer period. Of course, we cannot deny that not all cities offer one and the same opportunities. There are fewest unemployed in the big cities where a business is developed or which are rich in natural resources and more in the regions of Montana, Turgovshte, Shumen, Razgrad. One of the possible options is the relocation of the ones who are searching a job in places where they would be needed. It’s true that Bulgarians do not like to change environment and lifestyle. But it’s also true that this is the better alternative for the unemployment.

Discussions with different entrepreneurs confirm that recently things are going on well everywhere. In the recent five years there are hardly any firms bankrupting, cheated clients or consumers, who cannot reimburse their credit. People actually talk about new-founded offices, triple size of sales, dark grouping that legalize their business, growing consumption, hiring of new people. We can name at least ten companies who changed their offices in the last two years in order to provide more room for their personnel and are following their plans for future growing. There aren’t any companies who are lacking clients, but I know such that could not develop because there don’t have enough people. The growing in some sectors makes it more difficult today to be a client, who is high-quality serviced, than to be a supplier, who is searching for a new business. From one hand this is the maturity of market; from the other it questions the competition between companies in long-term plan.

It is my opinion that bankrupts and take-over of small companies (and not so small) is awaiting. If this happens the reason would not be the lack of market or client base, of high-quality products and successful business model but the lack of possibilities to attract and hold high quality people.

And yet there are measures that can help.

First of all it is a good idea to take a look around and find out whether we can’t attract professionals who have left some time ago, have gained some good experience and are looking for an opportunity to come back. It is considered that till now about three million Bulgarians have gone abroad and about thirty thousand people are leaving the country each year in search for a better future. Imagine if even one percent of the two hundred thousand people who live in the US or of the a hundred and fifty thousand who live in Greece or of the two hundred and forty thousand who live in Spain, Germany, Italy and Great Britain came back and became a part of native organizations. As a matter of fact this better future that they are searching for might be here, especially when foreign companies have representations in our country. Much of what emigrants are looking for abroad becomes accessible for the Bulgarians in Bulgaria – high salaries, professional growth, and opportunities for additional qualification abroad.

Now on the agenda is the challenge to become managers of foreigners and in most of the cases – without experience. One option is to attract people who had nothing to do with Bulgaria accept for the desire to get to know the country. Another is to appeal to the people who work abroad but define themselves as Bulgarians and to offer them work in Bulgaria.

Records show that there are about 60 thousand people in Moldavia and 230 thousand in Ukraine who consider themselves Bulgarians.

Another resource is the retired and the people from the “previous generation”. Basic argument for the selection of younger personnel is the lack of computer skills, language knowledge and the presence of the proverbial post socialistic negativism in the older ones. According to a bulletin of NOI, at the end of 2006 the retired in Bulgaria were over two million. With the relevant qualification course and desire from the employers, many of them would be hired. If we start such a program from now, we will easily meet 2020 when the percentage of the retired will double and will become about 46, 7% from the population.

As for the irregularly used potential, administrative employees should be mentioned, too. In this respect, the point of view of the employer could be complementary to the point of view of the taxpayer. This huge machine (over 80 thousand people according to data from 2007) engages lots of people who become resource, which can be easily attracted if it is placed in the right corporative culture.

Motivational frame and intensive study

Records show that over 30% of the employees in the state administration are between 31 and 40 years old; 29% are between 41 and 50; 25% are between 51 and 60; those who are under 30 are only 13%; more than a half have higher education and know a foreign language – English or Russian. This people waste their potential.

All these measures would mean more expenses for the company and this would be sufficient in order to do nothing but repeat “there aren’t any people”. Happily, we can also use resources from different programs from the EU, such as the operative program “Development of Human Resources”. Its budget for the period 2007 – 2013 is 1, 2 milliard euro, and 182 millions of them are nationally co-financed. There are plenty of steps which should be made such as opening our culture and accepting foreigners more easily, and after that, make our administrative and legal procedures easier and understandable, and synchronize politics with the interest of the society in the most optimal way. May be this is the way to deal with the crises with cadres and make it look less serious and when five more samurai appear the joke would not be so funny any more.