Low unemployment rate boosting occupational labour mobility

Photo: Ambro, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Labour mobility has never been high in the Czech Republic, be it geographic or occupational. Most Czechs are unwilling to commute long distances or move house for a better job and they have three to four different employers in the course of their working life. However according to data from Czech labour offices the situation is now gradually changing.

Photo: Ambro,  FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic –currently at 6 percent - is at its lowest since 2009 and it is giving many people dissatisfied with their present position the courage to look around for something better. There are currently 100,000 vacancies on the market and on average 4.1 applicants per vacancy. According to the director of AC Jobs Olga Hyklová there is now a heightened interest in new job opportunities and more people are willing to take the risk of leaving their secure job for a better paid-position or change their filed of activity completely.

The main reason behind this revitalization on the job market is widespread discontent with salaries. According to a survey conducted by the STEM/MARK agency 50 percent of Czechs believe that they are underpaid, but the vast majority of them are afraid to ask their boss for a raise. Of those who did, only 7 percent got it, the rest were either turned away or were given a symbolic raise that was nowhere near their expectations. The solution is a change of employer and more people are now willing to take the plunge. Also companies looking for qualified workers are more willing to listen to their demands and offer better money and extra perks.

Olga Hyklová,  photo: Archives of Olga Hyklová
Another reason why people with a secure and even well-paid job are looking for a change is health concerns. One in three Czechs reportedly suffer from burnout syndrome and feel that their life-and work balance is unsatisfactory. These are usually highly qualified specialists who either want better work conditions or opt for a radical change and make a clean break from their profession, Hyklová says.

The number of people willing to move to a different part of the country for a better job is still very low, and people willing to do so usually take work abroad on a temporary basis. The government is now considering ways of revitalizing geographic mobility, at least to some extent, by encouraging people to commute to work by covering part of their travel expenditures.