Lorry drivers and crane operators – “men’s” jobs increasingly open to women as unemployment sinks further

Photo: Václav Malina / Czech Radio

Unemployment rates in the Czech Republic have been the lowest Europe-wide for some time now. The latest data on employment levels is set to be released by the Labour Office on Friday, but already now analysts have told the Czech News Agency that they expect unemployment to have sunk in April to 2.8 percent compared to 3 percent in March. The need for workers is also leading to women taking on more “unusual” jobs, Czech Television reports.

Photo: Václav Malina / Czech Radio
After growing slightly during the winter months, unemployment levels have been decreasing again since February.

It is expected that when the Czech Labour Office releases its April statistics on Friday, they will show unemployment has continued to fall, reaching 2.8 percent.

If so, the amount of people without work will reach last year‘s October and November minimum, which is also the lowest rate in more than 20 years.

However, further decreases are unlikely due to supply and demand discrepancies and the reduction of the demand for new jobs in the manufacturing industry, UniCredit Bank’s chief economist Pavel Sobíšek told the Czech News Agency.

Whatever its future direction, low-unemployment has already triggered interesting side effects. One of them is the trend of Czech women taking on jobs in sectors such as in logistics and construction.

Jiří Halbrštát, from the recruiting agency Manpower, told Czech Television that companies are also starting to target women specifically in certain campaigns.

The goal is to break stereotypes that women cannot be employed in certain jobs, whether it is lorry driving, bus driving, or crane operating.

The switch to hard-labour is far from the result of desperation for many women.

According to a January survey made by pracezeny.cz, a jobs site which specifically targets women, 69 percent of females on the Czech labour market are looking for flexible work hours. And some male dominated jobs seem to offer that opportunity.

Pavla Hodná, who used to work as an auditor now rides a forklift in a warehouse. She told Czech Television that her current job gives her much more free time and a better work-life balance than she had in her previous job.

Gefco marketing Tomáš Brada told the TV network that women just ahead of their pension or those on maternity leave are among the company’s warehouse employees.