Czech Republic continues to face shortage of skilled workers

Foto: Lucie Maxová, ČRo

The Czech Republic continues to face a serious shortage of skilled workers. While older workers are gradually retiring, there are not enough young graduates from vocational or “trade” schools to replace them, the Czech News Agency reports.

Photo: Lucie Maxová / Czech Radio
While two years ago, the Czech Republic lacked around 300,000 skilled workers in various trades, it now lacks an estimated 400,000.

According to Miroslav Janeček, director of a secondary technical school in Prague, skilled workers are lacking in all trades with masons, welders, carpenters, plumbers and painter being in high demand.

“Absolutely the biggest demand we are currently recording is for rooftop workers, that is tinsmiths and roofers.

According to Mr Janeček, there are several factors behind the current shortage of skilled workers. One of them is the fact that the strong generation of older workers has reached retirement age.

The second factor is that due to the demographic development over the past 20 years, the number of secondary school students has diminished.

The third reason, according to Mr Janeček, is that vocational or “trade” schools have been facing a growing disinterest from the public since the turn of the century.

As a result, finding a skilled tradesman is becoming increasingly difficult and the cost of their services keeps growing.

At the moment, Czechs can wait up to several months to get their home reconstructed or their plumbing renovated.

„Graduates with no practice currently earn between 25,000 to 30,000 crowns during their first years on the job.

“The more experienced ones, especially if they can work with new materials and use modern technologies, get a salary which is way above the monthly average,” Mr Janeček told the Czech News Agency.

According to the Czech Statistics Office, the average wage in the Czech Republic is currently CZK 33,429.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce and the Confederation of Industry have been criticising the current situation and statisticians say the current state of affairs was triggered by the demographic development.

According to data from the National Institute for Education, Education Counselling Centre and Centre for Continuing Education of Teachers, the current proportion of secondary school children in various sectors has been more or less the same since 2008.

While twelve years ago, the number of students who applied to vocational or “trade” schools stood at 30.3 percent, in 2018 it reached nearly 29.4 percent.