Table of Contents
1. Historical Trends and Development of Digital transformation in the partner country
1.1. The structure of the economy in Bulgaria
1.2. Recent developments
1.3. Forecasts and the future developments
2. National framework of digitalization and collective bargaining
3. The role of social partners
3.1. State of play on the main issues, arranged by the FAA on Digitalisation
3.2. Challenges and opportunities faced by social dialogue deriving from the digital transformation of the world of work3.3. Examples of good practice
1. Historical trends and development of Digital transformation in the partner country
1.1 The structure of the economy in Bulgaria?
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices for the first quarter of 2021 is 27 054 million BGN (preliminary data). GDP per person is 3 912 BGN. In Euro, GDP reaches 13 833 million EUR in total and 2 000 EUR per person. Seasonally adjusted data show a decline of 1.8% compared to the first quarter of 2020 and an increase of 2.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.
The highest contribution (21.7%) to the Gross national value-added in 2020 is made by the Sectors B-E (Mining and quarrying; manufacturing; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities). The most contributing sectors G-I (Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; transportation and storage; accommodation and food service activities) and O-Q (Public administration and defense; compulsory social security; education; human health and social work activities), represent 19.0% and 17.1% of the Gross value added (GVA) in 2020. The Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector amounts to 3.9% of the GVA. The Information and communication sector formed 8.0% of the national GVA in 2020.
There were 419 681 non-financial enterprises in 2019. When grouped by size, the micro-enterprises (0-9 employed) dominate in number (388 980 or 92.7% of all non-financial enterprises), followed by the small enterprises (25 204 or 6.0%) and medium enterprises (4738 or 1.1%). The large enterprises represent only 0.2% of all non-financial enterprises in 2019. The small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can be referred to as the backbone of the Bulgarian economy, providing a potential source for jobs and economic growth. When grouped by economic activity, the non-financial enterprises are concentrated unevenly across the economy. The NACE sections where most of the enterprises can be found include Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (34.2% of all non-financial enterprises operate in the sector); Professional, scientific and technical activities (11.5% of all non-financial enterprises); Manufacturing (7.5% of all non-financial enterprises); Accommodation and food service activities (6.5% of all non-financial enterprises); Real estate activities (6.0% of all non-financial enterprises).
The official statistics for the first quarter of 2021 reveal 3 million employed persons and 204 thousand unemployed persons. Respectively the employment rate was 51.4% Despite the low unemployment and the targeted employment policy of the government, 25.0% of the industrial enterprises pointed out the labour shortage as a factor limiting their activity (data provided by the national statistics business inquiries in June 2021). And the unemployment rate was 6.3%. The shrinking labour supply, along with the pandemic government support measures and the increase of high-qualified workers, contributed positively to the remuneration level nationwide. The total hourly labour cost rose by 4.9% compared to the first quarter of 2020. In March 2021, the average wage and salary was BGN 1 500 and rose by 4.8% compared to the previous month and by 13.6 % compared to March 2020.
- Recent development
Digital penetration and development are being analyzed by different stakeholders in the country. Data indicates that Bulgaria has large numbers of artificial intelligence (AI) players across the industry as well as energetic and indigenous private sector successfully competing internationally in areas such as machine-building and IT. According to the 2019 InnovationShip survey by the EDIT network of digital Bulgaria, the most crucial segments of the emerging deep tech in Bulgaria include platform building, big data analytics, machine learning and AI, cloud computing, automation systems, blockchain/API and Connectivity/IoT. According to the data of the Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BASSCOM) the average compensation of the software sector employees remains three times higher than the national average, and when (adjusted through PPPs) remains even higher than compensation of their colleagues in the UK and Germany.
Since 2013 the ICT sector as a percentage in the national GDP has constantly been increasing and reached 6.1% in 2018. At the same time, the ICT personnel in total employment is just 2.85%. Compared with advanced EU economies, Bulgaria registers a high rate of business expenditure on Research and Experimental Development (R&D) in the ICT sector as % of total R&D expenditure.
Enterprise data indicates that almost all (95.5%) enterprises have access to the Internet. Despite the increase in the share of enterprises providing company portable devices that allow mobile internet connection, Bulgaria is still quite below the EU average rates of employees equipped with such devices. About half (48.0%) of the enterprises still do not have their own website, and even few use paid cloud computing services (10.9%) or performed big data analysis (6.3%).
The country is still below the EU average when security is concerned: enterprises with formally defined ICT security policy (19% of Bulgarian enterprises compared to 31% in EU 27 in 2015); enterprises which made persons employed aware of their obligations in ICT security-related issues (51% in Bulgaria, 61% in EU 27 in 2019); enterprises using any ICT security measure (85% in Bulgaria, 92% in EU 27 in 2019); enterprises having insurance against ICT security incidents (3% in Bulgaria, 21% in EU 27 in 2019).
About half of the Bulgarian SMEs still do not have an innovation strategy in place. About one-third of the SMEs report that personnel have no digital skills at all, and 38% report difficulties in finding employees with any digital skills. SMEs still encounter problems in finding information on digital projects/programs, applying digital marketing tools, allocating funds on the digital transformation of the business processes (BCCI data for 2019).
Official data concerning the digitalization of society indicates that 78.9% of Bulgarian households have access to the Internet at home; however, there are still significant regional disparities in terms of access. 69.2% of the Bulgarians report using the Internet regularly (every day or at least once a week), but the highest share of the indicator is within the youth group (up to 35). Still, 20.9% of the Bulgarians have never used the Internet (in contrast, the EU 27 average is 9%). Many digital skills are underdeveloped. For example, Bulgarians still find difficulties in installing and using different software products/apps.
Training initiatives related to acquiring (digital) competencies have been organized over the years by both public and private sector entities. Special attention is paid to the women, vulnerable youths and young children so that a wider audience is reached and equal access to training is guaranteed. The higher education programs have been currently paying interest in digital industrial technologies, and there are already available studying opportunities. As to public administration employees, the Bulgarian Institute of Public Administration (IPA) provides training using modern technologies, methods and programs. Data show that just in the first half of 2021, nearly 11 000 public administration servants have participated in IPA training.
Despite the active government policy related to the digital transformation of the economy, Bulgaria still occupies the bottom position within different international rankings. The 2020 IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking positioned Bulgaria in 45th place among 63 researched economies. According to the 2020 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), Bulgaria performs quite under the EU average and currently has the lowest score on the index.
- Forecasts and future developments
According to a McKinsey report, digitization can be the next big engine for sustainable growth for Bulgaria, adding 1% extra growth per year to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country by 2025.
Harnessing even more significant digital opportunities requires decisive policy interventions. To strengthen Bulgaria’s digital status, future efforts need to be channeled in the following areas:
– building skillset for the future by developing a wide-ranging reskilling strategy, updating youth education for the future and actively counteracting brain drain;
– individuals should prepare for the digital economy and invest in lifelong learning;
– investments in human capital through both primary and secondary education are a significant step towards the economy’s digitalization. Digital and soft skills for the general population need to be developed. Private and public education efforts should be coordinated and build on each other. Furthermore, training should encounter population groups prone to exclusion (such as females, ethnic minorities, etc.) and ensure the dissemination of cost-efficient technological devices;
– technology adoption in the public sector (e.g. speeding up the development of online public services and their adoption);
– technology adoption among businesses (e.g. promote digitization benefits and digital transformation).
The private sector should embrace a pro-digital organizational culture. SMEs are exposed to high competition but do not have enough human, financial and technical capital to maintain and increase their competitiveness in the context of the digital transformation. Since SMEs still lack financial resources to integrate digital instruments into their business processes, improving the legal framework for digital and digitally-driven SMEs is a must. Measures may be aimed at funding, provision of simplified e-services and lower taxation.
– Strengthening regional cross-border digital collaboration (e.g. create a strong digital pillar within regional collaboration platforms)
– Further, stimulate the startup ecosystem through, e.g. improving entrepreneurial talent pool and increasing access to capital).
– Overcoming labour market shortages.
Companies declare that software engineers and developers are the hardest to find; talent shortage is encountered. Strengthening business-education relations can contribute to sparking interest in ICT and STEM disciplines among students. Comprehensive research on the inclusion barriers (prejudice, lack of skills, unattractiveness, etc.) may support the process.
2. National framework of digitalization and collective bargaining
2.1. Strategic framework
Bulgaria has adopted various strategies related to digital transformation. The first National Programme “DIGITAL BULGARIA 2015” was approved in 2012. It identifies seven interrelated priority areas: 1. A vibrant digital single market; 2. Interoperability and Standards; 3. Trust and Security; 4. Fast and Ultra-fast Internet Access; 5. Research and Innovation; 6. Enhancing Digital Literacy, Skills and Inclusion; 7. ICT-enabled Benefits for EU Society
Before that a number of strategic and program documents have been developed, covering partially the topic of digitalization: National Reform Programme 2012-2020 (Development of e-Health; Development of e-Government; Broadband development; Promoting investments aimed at creating new jobs in high-tech industries and knowledge-based services (education, R & D, ICT, etc.).; ICT for Energy Efficiency; ICT to improve the Education system), National Strategy for Scientific Research 2020 (the main emphasis is on supporting research and technological development in the fields of research, ICT infrastructure, e-Government, online health, smart home, digital skills, security in cyber-space), Innovation Strategy of Bulgaria, National Strategy for Broadband Access Development, Common Strategy for e-Government Development 2011-2015. In December 2019, the Council of Ministers adopted an updated National Program “Digital Bulgaria 2025”.
The situational analysis provided in National Program “Digital Bulgaria 2025” gives an overview on some main domains, related to the scope of the TransFormWork project:
The overall level of digital skills in Bulgaria is among the the lowest in the EU: the proportion of people with at least basic skills in the field of digital technologies amounts to around 29%, while on average for the EU this share is 57 %. This trend was also confirmed among young people: 54% of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 have at least basic digital skills (relative to the EU average of 81 %). People with more advanced user skills (above basic digital skills) accounted for 11% of the total number of less than one-third of the EU average. There have also been policy changes – the education system is in the process of reforms at all levels, and although the measures are not fully in line with the with the scale of the digital transformation, however, the focus on improving digital skills. In the context of higher education reform, measures have been taken to strengthen cooperation between educational institutions and businesses.
Using Internet services:
Although it has improved its performance, Bulgaria is below the average level in internet services: 64% of citizens use the internet (in the the EU average is 83%), while 27% have never used it – this is the highest value across the EU. Among EU internet users Bulgarians make the most video calls; they are well above the average level and in terms of social networking activity (79% of the total number of compared to 65%). There are significant differences for regular internet users in education – 89.6% of persons with higher education and 37.7% of persons with primary or lower education regularly use the global network. Employment status also affects the activity of the population in the global network. The most common use of it is those in education (unemployed), 98.6% of who surf regularly and in the case of workers (employed and self-employed) the relative share is 80.8%. Almost half of the unemployed (45.1%) also regularly used on the internet.
Deployment of digital technologies
The adoption of digital technologies by businesses in the Bulgaria is going slowly. In recent years, there has been a gradually evolving ecosystem of digital and technological entrepreneurs, but investment in the digitisation of the economy is still limited. These insufficient investments, together with the shortage of ICT professionals, are defined as possible reasons for slower digitisation in Bulgaria compared to other Member States.
Bulgarian businesses are facing difficulties to use the opportunities provided by online trading: 6% of the total number of SMEs sell online (compared to 17% on average in the EU), 3% of all SMEs make cross-border sales and only 2% of their turnover is from online trading.
Although Bulgarians use social media intensively for personal use, only 9% of businesses use them for personal use compared to 21% on average in the EU. Finally, the the number of enterprises with a high intensity index represent only 7.81 % of all enterprises. It is positive that 23% of companies share information online, with an average of EU 34%.
The insufficient digital, communication and entrepreneurial skills of the citizens and deepening the problem of the shortage of a highly skilled workforce in high-tech activities is barriers to the development of the digital economy. According to the government, a strategically coordinated approach involving all stakeholders is needed to ensure an update of the programmes for the digital skills at all levels and parts of the educational system, additional qualification and retraining of employees and unemployed, an increase in the number of graduates in the field of accurate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (TNTIM), inclusion of employers in vocational training, reducing the digital economy and reducing the division with a focus on disadvantaged social groups. The use of ICT in industry and services involves the deployment of ICT applications to optimise the management, production and processes, e-commerce and e-business, the provision of interactive online services, increased opportunities for flexible, flexible and remote and part-time work, etc. The low level of investment of enterprises in ICT limits Bulgaria’s ability to benefit from the benefits of the digital economy.
2.2. Social dialogue and collective bargaining
Digitalization is at the focus of social partners in recent years. In 2010 all nationally representative organisation of employers and workers concluded a national agreement, arranging telework. This agreement was based on the 2002 EU Social Partner Autonomous agreement on telework Based on the agreement and on joint request by the social partners, the Labour code was amended. With these amendments a new section was introduced to arrange telework. Despite that, according the Eurostat, for the period 2011-2019, the percentage of employed people working from home on a regular basis, varies from 0.2 to 0.6. The percentage, reported for the pandemic 2020 is 1.2 – again the lowest rate for 2020, compared to EU 27 – 12 %
In 2019 and 2020, the Economic and social council adopted three opinions, related to digital transformation – challenges faced by workers and businesses in terms of digitalization, as well as challenges and opportunities for digital transformation in Bulgaria. All three opinions were elaborated by two co-rapporteurs – from the employers’ and workers’ side. Among the main conclusions we can highlight the following:
- the digital transformation and its impact on all social processes is an issue of strategic importance for developing economic potential, improving working conditions and quality of life, especially in the context of an ageing population, but at the same time confronts society with so far unknown risks;
- with the right policies in place, the opportunities for technological development could be used in an appropriate way, thus – reducing the risks to the minimum;
- the digital transformation, expressed through the introduction and use of modern digital technologies in the field of tangible and intangible production in order to increase the overall factor productivity and competitiveness of enterprises, leads to professional transformation;
- the digital transformation will require significant investments from the private and public sectors. The more these investments slow down over time, the more difficult it is to access finance, the more money each worker will need in the future to increase his productivity, and every entrepreneur to increase his competitiveness;
- the degree of technological advancement predetermines the productivity of the workers;
- substantive changes in the rules are needed in order to establish transparent and democratic rules for interaction between people and digital technologies;
- emphasizes the importance of digital skills and competencies to increase the ability to adapt human capital to changing demands of the workplace and labour market. The educational infrastructure will play a crucial role, which must provide conditions and opportunities for their acquisition. Тhe Bulgarian government should focus more efforts on measures to stimulate digital competence and digital culture from early childhood throughout working life;
- The development of the process of “lifelong learning” (LLL) precisely because of the rapid development of technology and the need for continuous retraining of the workforce. It is important for such a policy to be aimed at the pilot creation of sectoral qualification funds, where the social partners have a key role to play. According to ESC, the state and the social partners must offer and develop alternative forms of education (digital platforms, mobile applications, online courses, etc.).
Telework and digitalization is a new topic for discussion for social partners, when it comes to collective bargaining. Only in 2020 the collective agreement in education was amended in order to reflect the new realities, posed by Covid-19 and the need to switch to mandatory telework. Here we need to underline that as described above, the Labour code was amended based on the social partners’ agreement, providing extensive regulation of telework. For that reason, clauses in the sectoral collective agreements cover mainly issues, related to pay and digital tools available for teleworking. According to data provided by the National institute for arbitration and conciliation (also responsible for analyzing the collective bargaining arrangements) for the period 31.12.2017-31.08.2021 the number of collective agreements, covering telework is constantly growing, but still remaining rather law from 11 undertakings covering 566 employees in 2017 to 74 undertakings covering 5 668 employees in 2021 (60 in the education sector). On a sectoral level, there are just 2 collective agreements – in education and constriction sector.
The pandemic clearly had an impetus for this increase. However, the law number of bargaining on this issue can be explained to a large extent with the law use of telework in pre-Covid times as well as law level of use of flexible working arrangements. Now, as Covid imposed the mandatory use of telework, the topic is becoming more and more relevant for all companies, regardless of whether they bargain collectively or not.
3. The role of social partners
3.1State of play on the main issues, arranged by the FAA on Digitalisation
Digital skills are identified by the social partners as one of the key components in the process of the digital transformation of the economy. The social partners joined their efforts to arrange a separate scheme for the social partners to be financed by ESF managed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. Under the scheme “Development of digital skills”, the social partners launched joint projects in partnership with the Ministry of Labor in Bulgaria. The projects aim to develop, test and approves unified profiles of the digital skills of the workforce in Bulgaria for key professions in 97 out of 99 economic activities. They will focus on identifying the specific levels of digital skills of the workforce at the sectoral level, the specific deficits and supporting the acquisition of digital skills needed to perform daily work tasks. The definition of digital competence levels must be in line with the European DigComp2.1 framework. Other activities that will be supported are the development, testing and testing of non-formal learning programs for the development of specific digital skills. The duration of the project is two years with the financial support of the ESF.
Modalities of Connecting and Disconnecting
There are no specific rules neither in legislation nor in collective bargaining covering the modalities of connecting and disconnecting. The general working time rules apply as it is expected that despite of new technologies entering progressively our lives in the recent decade, rights and obligations of employers and employees remain the same. The employers are obliged to respect the working time in all cases – this also covers telework. This is explicitly arranged in the Labour code.
There are no regulations on the possibility to use digital tools for private purposes during the working time. These issues are left to be regulated at a company level and might also be subject to collective bargaining. Here again the general requirement applies, that the workers need to perform the task he is assigned to during the working time.
Issues, related to overtime and its pay are also covered the the Labour code.
The other issues, covered by the Digitalisation agreement, such as culture that avoids out of hours contact, alert and support procedures. prevention of isolation at work, are to a large extent part of companies’ HR policies
AI and guaranteeing the human in control principle. Respect of human dignity and surveillance
AI is not covered neither by legislation, nor by collective bargaining. With regard to Respect of human dignity and surveillance, the only provisions we have in place are those deriving from the GDPR regulation. Both topics are to explored by the social partners in the coming years where they have a role to play in establishing jointly recognised standards and tools to support their members.
- Challenges and opportunities faced by social dialogue deriving from the digital transformation of the world of work
Collective bargaining in Bulgaria is conducted only and branch/sector or company level. Only branch/sector organisations that are members of nationally representative employers or workers organisations are entitled to conclude collective agreements (CA). According to data, provided by National Institute for conciliation and arbitration, in the end of 2020, there were 1 608 collective agreements in force, covering 411 354 employees out of 2 211 773 (in 2020). At the same time, the National statistical institute reports for 600 272 employees (2018) out of 2 038 040 covered by collective agreements (NSI, 2021; p.266).
Despite digital transformation has been in the focus of nationally representative social partners, the topic is not really a hot issue in the collective bargaining at the sectoral level. Only since the Covid-19 outbreak there we few collective agreements were amended in order to reflect pay issues, related mainly to mandatory introduced telework. To our knowledge, none of the four topics of the Framework agreement of digitalisation is specifically covered by collective agreements on sectoral level. To some extent this can be explained by the fact that for many years, collective agreements cover mainly issues, already arranged by the labour legislation and there is lack of experience or interest of the social partners to extend the scope of these agreements to broader topics. On the other hand, as already explained above, there is a low digital penetration in many sectors of the economy, thus digitalisation is not a natural issue to be discussed between social partners. An important factor is also that many sectors where there are digital transformation processes are not covered at all by collective bargaining.
It will be exactly one of the main goals of this project to discuss with sectoral level social partners the possible actions that can be taken through collective bargaining.
Some Covid-19 telework developments
As a result of the Covid pandemic in 2020 the use of telework in the public sector has significantly increased, especially in the system of higher and secondary education. This led to a reorganization of the work process and helped to maintain employment and human health. In the private sector, many of the companies in Bulgaria also had to use digital technologies to improve the organization of work in order to preserve the employment in Covid -19 situation. The Labor Code was amended immediately after the declaration of state of emergency, and new texts were introduced in it, through which telework during a declared state of emergency or emergency epidemiological situation has become a mandatory form of organization of the work process.
Telework work created challenges in home environment:
- Computers/laptops, office equipment, consumables and utilities, internet connection (often slow connection speed) are often at the expense of the employee;
- The home internet connection cannot take the heavy load when parents and children work and study at home at the same time;
- Often there is no separate room in the home as a workplace in which to work quietly (children are at home – students are distance learning, kindergartens do not work, parents are forced due to Covid infection have moved to work remotely);
- In some administrations with departmental net connection/web-based systems, access is not allowed from external computers, such as personal / home ones, and this makes remote work impossible;
- Employees do not have access to their official mail for the above reasons. At the same time, there may be a ban on sending official documents by personal mail;
- Examples of good practice of social partners
- Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI)
The BCCI, together with six other partner organizations, participate in the CVETNET project. The project aims at building the capacity of CVET (continuous vocational education and training) provider’s networks and its members in order to better adapt their organizations and trainers in supporting SMEs to reskill and upskill their managers and employees on intergenerational learning and adaptation to digital transformation. Up to 2021, BCCI participated in the “Supporting Knowledge Capacity in ICT among SME to Engage in Growth and Innovation” (SKILLS+) project. It aimed to advance public policies promoting information and communication technologies (ICT) skills among SMEs in rural areas helping them seize fully the opportunities offered by a digital single market and benefits of a digital economy. As part of the project “DIGITAL SMEs- Promoting SME contribution in the implementation of policies on digitalization of the economy”, BCCI conducted a national survey among 550 employers. The major share of surveyed employers represented the micro, small and medium enterprises, and thus valuable insights on digitalization processes were generated for small economic players.
- Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA)
BIA currently participates in the “Upskilling Lab 4.0” project, co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Program. Through international collaboration, the project aims to provide skills improvement opportunities to companies’ staff (managers and employees) so that modern technologies and innovation practices (related to Industry 4.0) can be successfully integrated into Bulgarian enterprises. Detailed step-by-step guidance will be developed, and the Upskilling lab 4.0 model will be introduced to national organizations and businesses interested in digital transformation. In 2018 BIA and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Bulgaria participated in the project “Industry 4.0- Challenges and impact on the economic and social development of Bulgaria”. A list of proposals concerning Industry 4.0 was presented to the Ministry of the economy.
The National Competency Assessment System “MyCompetence” has been created as part of a project carried out by the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA). The “MyCompetence” System is an online platform in the field of human resource management and development. It offers competency profiles and job descriptions for key positions, lists of competencies, assessment tools, e-learning resources and other services for the assessment and development of workforce competencies.
- Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA)
In July 2021 the Sofia University started the implementation of the project “MODERN-A: MODERNIZATION in partnership through the digitalization of the academic ecosystem”. It is implemented in partnership with eight other universities in Bulgaria, three national employers’ organizations (BIA, BCCI, BICA) and over 20 associate partners from abroad. One of the main project goals is the implementation of programs with digital content, promoting distant learning and the development of electronic and cloud technologies within the learning process. The project activities envisage teacher training, specializations in foreign universities, scientists and students mobility. Student clubs for the development of entrepreneurial skills, presentation skills and digital creativity will be established within Sofia University and two other partner universities.
In 2019 BICA and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) renewed their 2016 cooperation agreement and extended its application. The signed Partnership Memorandum empowers both organizations to develop projects and policies increasing SMEs competitiveness both to tackle key global challenges such as digitalization and cybersecurity and to balance knowledge and skills of the future workforce.
- Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (CEIB)
CEIB actively participate in national forums dedicated to the digital transformation of the economy. In 2017 CEIB organized together with major tech companies the first national cloud summit where strategic partnership arrangements were discussed. In 2021 CEIB presented its views during a high-level conference, “The Green deal and digital transformation- opportunities for the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy”, organized by the Deputy Chair of the Renew Europe Political Group in the European Parliament. As part of the annual awards “Mr and Mrs Economy”, CEIB rewards individual contributions to the ICT development.
- Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB)
CITUB has started in 2021 a project dedicated to the development of unified digital profiles where a detailed list of competencies and skills will be elaborated. The project encompasses 17 economic sectors and foresees employee training on digital competence development. The project will be implemented in partnership with BIA, BICA, BCCI and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
- Confederation of Labour “Podkrepa” (CL “Podkrepa”)
The sector structures of CL “Podkrepa” actively analyze the digital penetration within the sectors and pay specific attention to the development of digital skills through collectively agreed initiatives.
- Union for Private Economic Enterprise (UPEE)
UPEE pays specific attention to the cyber security issue, and since June 2021, a UPPE representative has joined the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO). Seeking to communicate the business needs to the government representatives, at the beginning of 2021, UPEE, together with a leading Bulgarian university, organized an online event called “Talking about policy, digitalization and sustainability: youth questions”. During the event, discussions focused on the cyber security and education-business dimensions.
- In the “Education” sector
- In Bulgaria for 2020 and 2021, the social partners agreed with the Sectoral employment contract in the system of school and pre-school education additional payments for teachers who work in the conditions of the online learning process (work from a distance in real-time).
- Example in the field of pre-school and school education after the introduction of the state of emergency in Bulgaria due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the adoption of the Law on Pre-school and School Education changes in a number of normative acts were adopted, incl. and of the LC. With the provision of art. 20 of the Law on the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms stipulates that by the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, students’ education, as well as support for personal development, shall be carried out as far as possible from a distance in an electronic environment using ICT tools. The training includes distance learning hours, self-preparation, ongoing feedback on learning outcomes and assessment.
- National Statistical Institute. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) database. Information Society database;
- Digital economy and society database;
- Institute for Management Development (IMD). 2020. IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2020;
- European Commission. Digital Economy and Society Index;
- bg. 2019. 2019 EDIT national report on digital micro, small and startup business in Bulgaria;
- The World Bank. 2020. Bulgaria’s Industry Adopted Artificial Intelligence Solutions, Finds a New World Bank Report. E-resource available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/11/09/bulgarias-industry-adopted-artificial-intelligence-solutions-finds-a-new-world-bank-report
- National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. 2021. The Chairperson of the Economic and Social Council: If we are talking about digital transformation now, we will soon be talking about digital convergence. E-resource available at: https://parliament.bg/bg/news/ID/5203
- bg. 2021. Bulgaria may be Green and Wealthy. Let’s not miss this Opportunity! E-resource available at: https://move.bg/stanovishte-mart
- Ministry of Finance. National Development Programme BULGARIA 2030
- Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications. National Program “Digital Bulgaria 2025” and Road map for its implementation is adopted by CM Decision №730/05-12-2019. E-resource available at: https://www.mtitc.government.bg/en/category/85/national-program-digital-bulgaria-2025-and-road-map-its-implementation-are-adopted-cm-decision-no73005-12-2019
- Institute of Public Administration. 2021. Близо 11 000 служители завършиха курсове на ипа през първото полугодие на 2021 г. E-resource available at: https://www.ipa.government.bg/bg/novini/blizo-11-000-sluzhiteli-zavrshiha-kursove-na-ipa-prez-prvoto-polugodie-na-2021-g
- 2020. More and more employees use mobile business devices. E-resource available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/ddn-20200417-1
- European Structural and Investment Funds Information Portal. 2019. Кръгла маса по проект „Дигитални МСП” се проведе в Добрич. E-resource available at: https://www.eufunds.bg/bg/node/3416
- 2019. Own analysis on SMEs digital uptake. E-resource available at: https://www.bcci.bg/bulgarian/projects/DigSMSe/Analysis.pdf
- Sofia University. 2021. Софийският университет „Св. Климент Охридски“ стартира нов голям проект по процедурата „Модернизация на висшите училища“. E-resource available at: https://www.uni-sofia.bg/index.php/novini/novini_i_s_bitiya/sofijskiyat_universitet_sv_kliment_ohridski_startira_nov_golyam_proekt_po_procedurata_modernizaciya_na_visshite_uchilischa
- 2019. BICA and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization continue and expand their partnership. E-resource available at: https://bica-bg.org/bica-and-the-united-nations-industrial-development-organization-continue-and-expand-their-partnership/?lang=en
- Кирил Домусчиев откри Форум за облачни технологии, организиран от КРИБ, VIVACOM и Huawei. E-resource available at: https://krib.bg/bg/news/Kiril-Domuschiev-otkri-Forum-za-oblachni-tehnologii-organiziran-ot-KRIB-VIVACOM-i-Huawei/
- 2021. Луиджи Ребуфи, Генерален секретар на Европейската организация по киберсигурност, за дигитализацията и нейните перспективи пред студенти и политици. E-resource available at: https://ssibg.org/%D0%BB%D1%83%D0%B8%D0%B4%D0%B6%D0%B8-%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B1%D1%83%D1%84%D0%B8-%D0%B3%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD-%D1%81%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%80-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%B5/
- The rise of digital challengers. Report insights presentation- a perspective of Bulgaria. E-resource available at: https://digitalchallengers.mckinsey.com/files/McKinsey_Digital%20Challengers_Perspective_on_Bulgaria_online.pdf
- BG. 2019. InnovationShip Bulgaria. Digital 2019. E-resource available at: http://edit.bg/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/innovationship-2019-en-pdf-web.pdf
- 2020. Баском Барометър 2020. E-resource available at E-resource available at: https://www.basscom.org/RapidASPEditor/MyUploadDocs/BASSCOM_Barometer_2020_BG_.pdf
 National Statistics Institute of Bulgaria and Eurostat have been used as sources throughout this chapter.
 10-49 employed
 The employment rate of persons aged 15 years or more.
 The Economic and social council of the Republic of Bulgaria is comprised of three groups – Group 1 Employers, Group 2 Workers and Group 3 – Various interests