AmCham held an Intel session on wage and workforce availability in Czechia, providing fresh data and practical insights.
The Czech Republic has been struggling for several years with declining interest from investors. “Although Czechia continues to attract investors with its favorable location within Europe and good reputation in terms of quality of education, it faces challenges in the form of outdated transport and energy infrastructure, land scarcity, administrative bureaucracy and lengthy visa process,” Klára Hrubá, Commercial Director at Hays Czech Republic opened the session. There are currently 300,000 roles that employers are unable to fill in the Czech Republic.
According to Martina Papoušková, Section Manager at Hays Czech Republic shared service centers in the Czech Republic have reprofiled towards competence centers and/or centers of excellence. “The greatest demand from employers is for mid-seniority staff, with a significant decline in managerial and top management positions. These roles tend to be relocated or centralized in other European locations,” M.Papoušková pointed out.
Matěj Vondráček, IT Perm Manager at Hays Czech Republic focused on the technology sector. The IT labor market has long been one of the sectors with the highest demand, which has been met in many cases by foreign labor. “Here, however, companies face a lengthy visa process that can keep them waiting for candidates for more than half a year. At the local level, we are seeing a trend where employees from other fields are seeking to move into the IT field and are thus intensively trying to acquire the necessary knowledge and competences,” M.Vondráček explained. The markets competing for tech talent include Czechia, Bulgaria and Poland, but Czechia has not been able to compete in terms of wages. Czechia is seen as IT hub within the EU - there is the central position in the region, as well as good quality of universities - however, the country is not able to produce talent as fast as other nations.
Andrea Hirt, HR & Organizational Change Manager at GE Aerospace shared her experience from hiring engineers who often decide between Czechia and Germany. Candidates seem to appreciate attractive relocation package and support in immigration issues.
According to Jaroslava Rezlerová, General Manager at ManpoweGroup, 66% of employers in Czechia believe they face problems to fill positions, and global average is even higher. Nevertheless, Czech employers want and plan to hire. Unemployment rate remains very low, and this will not change. There has been demand for foreign employees, but obstacles remain.
Milan Šlapák CEO at RSBC emphasized that we need to be looking at ratios of value creation to cost, and focusing on value creation that enables wages to grow.
Martin Skřehota, Director, Refrigeration Operations Finance at Carrier Refrigeration pointed out that business needs to plan with fresh eyes. Expecting wages in Czechia to compete with Bulgaria as well as expecting the Czech population to provide the same number of applicants as Poland is not feasible. Business - and Czechia - should focus on attracting the talent that can drive value-added output.
We concluded the session with a thought that there is a positive environment for high added-value investment in Czechia. For Czechia to become an innovative country, the change of the society and its mindset is needed.
In line with Hays’ list of recommendations for the Czech Republic, it is essential that:
1) Investors have clear and transparent information on the conditions for the provision of investment incentive by the state
2) The Czech Republic invests in transport and energy infrastructure enhancements
3) Visa processes are faster and simplified
4) Czechia considers and applies dual education system - intensive involvement of practical training from the first year of secondary education to support the employability of graduates, similar to Germany or Austria, where this cooperation is in place, financially supported by the state.
Thank you to our Members for this insightful debate.