One in three Czech companies currently have problems finding qualified staff, the news site ihned.cz reported on Tuesday, predicting that in 2017 the crisis on the labour market would deepen. Companies seeking to expand will be forced to offer higher wages and there will be growing pressure on the authorities to simplify the immigration procedure and open the door to more foreign workers.
More than a quarter of large Czech companies, primarily industrial and logistics-oriented, are planning to expand their workforce in the coming year, according to a survey conducted by the Czech branch of Manpower Group. Skoda Auto has said it will be creating hundreds of new jobs, among others at its plant in Kvasiny where it needs mechanics, welders and logistics specialists.
The same goes for the power giant ČEZ, which this year employed another 1,000 workers, and will offer more jobs in the coming year –in its production, distribution and sales departments. The chemicals and food giant Agrofert, owned by Finance Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš, has also announced a planned expansion and is seeking chemists, agriculture specialists and butchers, among other professions. Manpower predicts these and other companies seeking to expand will face growing recruitment problems, not just in jobs requiring a technical education, but increasingly even in manual labour positions such as warehouse workers.
This will step up the pressure on the authorities to simplify immigration procedures and open the door to more foreign workers, the news site predicts. The government has already approved an amendment to the foreigners’ law which should ease conditions for foreign workers, speeding up the initial entry procedures and extending the period they can work here before needing to extend their visas. However that bill has yet to come into force and, until it does, companies will have to offer qualified staff more incentives than rival firms – higher starting wages, flexible work hours, cars, mobile phones and other perks. According to Martin Ježek from Grafton Recruitment unless there is an influx of qualified foreign workers we will see a higher increase in salaries in 2017 than last year –ie. more than five percent as companies strive to hold on to qualified staff and seek to attract new talent.
Unemployment at 4.9 percent is the lowest in Europe and coming close to the level of so-called natural unemployment, at which point it can drop no further.
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