Avatar photo

Greg Dorey


Part of UK in Hungary

9th February 2011

Creating jobs the practical way

On Friday the Embassy was packed with Mayors and Deputy Mayors from across the country, engaging with senior staff and managers from Tesco. It was a chance for this British-based company to thank them for all those two-way, mutually satisfactory arrangements that exist in many Hungarian towns and cities where there are Tesco stores. And for both sides to discuss what more the company could do to contribute to the national and local economies. They heard some speeches from Tesco’s International Director, the country CEO and me (speaking personally, this has been a particularly busy week for speeches!).

Tesco has been a major investor in Hungary for 15 years. And the largest single Tesco store in the world is at Budaors, on the outskirts of Budapest. It is fashionable to criticise hypermarkets in the media, but in Tesco’s case the figures speak for themselves in showing the huge contribution the business has made to jobs and growth here. In all, they have created 22,000 direct and another 8,000 indirect jobs in Hungary – with yet another 1,000 plus new jobs in stores alone being created in 2011, including in some of the areas of highest unemployment. Even before the 2010 crisis taxes, Tesco was the 5th biggest taxpayer in Hungary – contributing a massive HUF 60 billion annually.

It’s a good example too of technology transfer – there are only 7 expatriates working in the entire Tesco operation in Hungary. The vast majority of suppliers (some 1000) are Hungarian – and Tesco has created so much value in the supply chain that they have enabled many of these suppliers to export for the first time. Regional supplier events were held in Debrecen, Szeged and Pecs last year – resulting in some new, top-class Hungarian products entering Tesco stores – and the company plans more such local events. A range of mouth-watering products was on display at the Embassy.

This is beginning to sound like a commercial! But most Hungarian readers will only see the negative stories that appear in the press – it’s astonishing how readily a myth can take hold! So I should like to redress the balance a bit. Aside from helping the Hungarian government create jobs and growth, Tesco are introducing green technology through their new stores – which will greatly benefit the local environment. And their charitable activity here is considerable. The Mayors and Deputy Mayors are well aware of the benefits this investment brings to their communities – which is why they turned out in force on Friday.