Survey indicates “big movement” on Czech labour market undetected by unemployment statistics

While optimism was at a record high when companies in Czechia were asked about their hiring plans during the summer, HR firm ManpowerGroup’s latest survey, which looked into the situation on the country’s labour market going into the final quarter of 2022, shows a marked decrease in optimism, especially among large businesses. Nevertheless, the situation is still far better than it was at the height of the Covid pandemic. I spoke to Jiří Halbrštát, the marketing and candidate sourcing director at the Czech branch of ManpowerGroup.

Jiří Halbrštát  | Photo: Manpower Group

“What we are observing right now on the Czech labour market is quite a unique situation that we haven’t seen over the past 15 years.

“Generally, the Czech labour market is quite conservative and, historically, it was normal for around 75 to 80 percent of companies not to do any changes in terms of their number of employees.

“This year, we can see a huge increase of companies that plan to hire new employees (33 percent), yet at the same time a huge increase in the number that are downsizing (22 percent).

“This means that there is a big movement on the labour market that we cannot see in terms of unemployment numbers.”

So in other words you are saying that employees are moving, switching between companies?

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“Yes. People that lose their job can find a new one quite easily on the current labour market.

“We hope that the situation will remain similar also into the beginning of next year and that there will be enough opportunities for people who lose their job, for example in industries that are affected by the crisis in gas and electricity.”

In which sectors do you see the highest optimism and pessimism in terms of hiring plans?

“We see the highest optimism in transport, storage and wholesale, then in IT, telecommunications and the media. The third most important is finance, insurance and real estate. Then there is also construction.

“On the other hand the biggest rate of pessimism is in the primary sector. That means forestry, agriculture, electricity and gas supplies.”

Would you have any tips for foreigners looking to find work in Czechia? I guess this is quite a good time for IT jobs right now, but what do you think the developments might be going into the next year?

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“We see increasing opportunities for people from abroad who can’t speak the Czech language, not only in technology.

“The Czech Republic is also a hub for international shared service centres and currently [the country] is hiring many people with different language combinations and language qualifications for these international service centres.”

When it comes to hiring plans, I noticed that small and medium enterprises were more optimistic than large companies. Why is that?

“The bad news is that the biggest drop in optimism can be seen in companies with more than 250 employees. We can expect that this phenomenon will smoothly increase the unemployment rate.

“We see in our day-to-day operations that many manufacturing companies are really struggling with increasing prices of electricity and gas. Their business model is now in red numbers and they are forced to decrease their numbers of employees.”

So the energy crisis is mainly hitting those big companies?

“Yes. Big companies started to reorganise their business very quickly.

“Small and medium sized enterprises do not have such a fast reaction – that is something that we usually observe at the beginning of any crisis. The reaction is much quicker in large companies.”

The full ManpowerGroup Index of the Labour Market for Q4 in Czechia can be found here: