• Transcript

    Meet the new workers becoming a familiar sight in eastern European factories. A shocking jobs crunch has seen businesses turn to robots out of necessity.

    Countries like Hungary are struggling to cope with a labor shortage that started after the 2008 financial crisis and escalated when final curbs were lifted in 2011 to richer countries in the European Union.

    Despite increasing wages significantly it hasn't been enough to persuade young people to stay.

    Companies like this are struggling to recruit enough employees to meet surging demand for their products and have been forced to think outside the box

    (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) PLANT MANAGER OF HIRTENBERGER AUTOMOTIVE SAFETY GABOR KIRALY SAYING:

    "The current Hungarian labor market does not allow us to grow. Similarly to many other Hungarian companies we cannot get the extra workforce from the market. We have decided to supply the growing volumes and new products with automated solutions."

    Hirtenberger Automotive Safety has spent 2.5 million euros automating two production units at its factory.

    And it's not alone.

    While policymakers and economists in many parts of the world worry about the potential negative impacts of robots, here automation is a godsend for companies that want to avoid losing market share.

    With a recent U.N. report predicting if low fertility rates persist the combined population of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary will fall by more than eight million people by 2050, the automation of tasks is showing no signs of slowing down.

    But there are still challenges. There is now a lack of highly-skilled workers to maintain the machines and make sure they operate at a premium.