Budapest ranks as one of Europe’s best knowledge centres

05 Dec 2018

viewAccording to "The Geography of Europe’s Brain Business Jobs," a report from the European Centre for Entrepreneurship and Policy Reform (ECEPR), Budapest has outranked Berlin in terms of employment at firms that excel through brain power and expertise, boasting an atypically great number.

Budapest was referred to as one of Europe’s top knowledge centres, according to the study – which was supported by NC Advisory AB, advisor to the Nordic Capital Funds. 10.5% of the working age population works in so-called “brain business jobs”, which is 1% more than the populations in Helsinki, Brussels, Cologne, Vienna, Madrid, Berlin, Sofia, Lisbon, Rome, and Warsaw.

The study also claimed that almost 6% of working age Hungarians work at highly knowledge-intensive companies, which is nearly a percentage higher than the European average.

The high-tech manufacturing category is one of Hungary’s strongest, with more than double the European average in brain business jobs. The country also performs well in the R&D sector, with a 50% higher concentration of this kind of occupation than the European average. Design and IT services are also among Hungary’s best.

On the other hand, the country has earned less success in fields such as telecoms, advertising, market research, and publishing.

Results did, however, vary across the country. Despite Budapest’s high percentage (10%) of concentration for “brain business” employment, the Central Transdanubia region only scored 3.7%, and the Western Transdanubia region recorded an even lower percentage, at 3.5%. The Northern Great Plain and Southern Great Plain regions recorded only 2.6%.

According to the report, Europe is increasingly transitioning into a skills-based economy.

"In a time when Europe is rapidly moving towards a knowledge-intensive economy, it is important for regions to develop brain business jobs," Sanandaji explains. "These jobs are the driver for future economic well-being, and need to evolve not only in the capital region but throughout the country."

A great advantage for Hungary is its cost of living, which when compared to some other European cities, is relatively low. Cities like Paris or Stockholm tend to not be as fortunate in terms of attracting talents, as companies would have to pay higher salaries for those in fields such as engineering or programming.

"There are three keys to success," says Sanandaji. "Regions need to invest in social capital through higher education and adult learning. They need to encourage business and connectivity to the rest of Europe and they need to keep the cost of highly skilled labour down, through tax policy and housing policy that reduces the cost of living."