Romania is on the verge of a jobs crisis because between 1.2 and 2 million people have left the country to work abroad. And the crisis could deepen in the next two years because fewer youngsters will finish their schooling, the country's labour minister, Paul Pacuraru, said.
The shortage in graduates is a result of the low birth rate in the early 1990s. Mr Pacuraru said that the Romanian government should take emergency measures to prevent the crisis.
The measures should improve the social welfare system, stimulate the birth rate and offer job opportunities to people over 50, he said. He urged the country to make every effort to employ Romanians before bringing in workers from Asia or Africa.
One of the first steps will be to organise a job fair in Italy in June, where employers who face a lack of qualified workers will try to lure thousands of Romanians back, offering them well-paid jobs at home.
Romania has an unemployment rate of 4.1%, its lowest since 1992.
In November, Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian estimated that Romania needed 500,000 more workers, especially in construction, heavy industry and car manufacturing. Most Romanians working abroad are in Spain and Italy. Many moved there after Romania joined the European Union in 2007, taking modestly paid jobs as maids, cleaners and builders.