These people attracted massive amounts of capital after 1989, and generated the unprecedented growth in the first two decades of this century. This asset is finite, however, and all finite assets inflate in price when demand outstrips supply. Demand today far outstrips supply, and the manufacturing sector now faces a great and complicated challenge.
Not only are people in short supply due to an aging population. The younger generation simply does not agree with working hours starting a 6 a.m.
Furthermore, digitization has brought new complexities to engineering, and requirements on the skills companies need from its development teams. "We no longer need someone with an electrical engineering degree," explains one leader in research in the Brno area. "We need someone with expertise in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and software. That is something the universities are not used to producing."
To increase the headcount, the only available people live outside the country. And they are getting offers from multiple countries with the same need. The Czech Republic is in a race with others to sustain its manufacturing base, and its success will be determined by the openness and effectiveness of its immigration policy and how attractive quality of life is for foreigners.
On top of all this, urgently changing production lines to produce sustainable products will require massive amounts of money, skill, and organization. The EU has placed severe demands on the business sector to achieve this transition, but has not placed similar pressure on governments, universities or other parts of societies. "We see the need and we want to change how we do business," one GM comments, "but it will be almost impossible to achieve the necessary change unless governments feel the same urgency to create a good regulatory environment and make the public investments needed to achieve this change, and universities provide the type of educated people we need."
The AmCham Manufacturer's Council held their first core call on February 8 to discuss workforce and the Green New Deal.
If you are interested in learning more about the council, please contact Weston Stacey.