Czech companies increasingly relying on foreign workers
The Czech Republic’s economic boom has left many companies short-staffed and desperately seeking employees in order to be able to meet demand. Despite the fact that Czech labour offices currently register 390 thousand unemployed, companies are increasingly dependent on foreign labour.
These and other firms all blame the government for their present problems. While the cabinet approved a faster processing of visas for Ukrainian workers, who make up the backbone of the Czech construction industry, the drive to open the market to more foreign workers centred mainly around highly-skilled staff, not the manual workers that many companies require. So companies seek workers abroad themselves, using various means to do so, setting up recruitment offices, holding recruitment days in selected countries and Skyping with potential candidates. Even when they are successful, visas and work permits sometimes present a problem, especially for workers from countries such as Vietnam or Mongolia.
Lukáš Kovanda, chief economist at Roklen Financial Group, says that while the companies in question face genuine problems they themselves are partly to blame.
Many employers counter that they are paying what they can afford to pay in view of the global competition and their efforts to secure cheap labour from abroad are helping to preserve the jobs of hundreds of Czech employees in other positions as well as boosting Czech economic growth. Between 2014 and 2015 companies brought an additional 49 thousand foreign workers to the country and, while the economic boom lasts, the trend is expected to continue.