Czech restaurants and pubs facing serious shortage of workers

Photo: Jaroslav Mach

Czech restaurant and hotel owners are struggling with a major shortage of skilled workers, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday. With the tight labour market and growing number of new restaurants, both finding and keeping employees has become increasingly more complicated and some businesses have even been forced to close down.

Photo: Jaroslav Mach
There are currently around 200,000 people seeking a job in the Czech Republic. According to the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants, some 15,000 of them could find employment in the hospitality industry.

Yet, many of these posts remain unfilled even for several years, the president of the association, Václav Stárek, told Hospodářské noviny, adding that the only solution to the problem is to employ foreign workers.

“It is common all around the world to employ workers from abroad. It is sad that, for example, job applicants from Ukraine find it more difficult to get a work permit in the Czech Republic than in Poland or Austria,” Mr. Stárek told the daily.

One of the reasons the Czech hospitality industry is struggling with a labour shortage is the unusually high number of pubs and restaurants per capita.

According to the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants, the Czech Republic has the highest number of pubs and restaurants per person within the EU. There are currently around 265 people per restaurant in the Czech Republic, compared to 501 in Germany and 780 in Great Britain.

Especially in recent years, more business have been opening than closing down. Despite the growing number of pubs and restaurants, the number of skilled workers has been stagnating, and only about 15 percent of the new employees have a proper qualification.

“The biggest problem is that there is almost zero interest in apprenticeships for cooks and waiters,” the head of the Czech Republic’s Tourism Forum, Viliam Sivek, has told the daily. Regions bordering with Austria and Germany experience the biggest shortage of workforce in the hospitality industry, with skilled workers commuting abroad for better paid work.