Though jobless rate declines graduates in certain fields have trouble finding jobs

Czech unemployment rate, March 2002 - March 2003, graph: CTK

The Czech unemployment rate slightly decreased in the month of March this year to an even ten percent, down from a record high of 10.2 in February. However, for graduates from vocational schools in a number of different fields, the jobless rate is much higher.

Czech unemployment rate,  March 2002 - March 2003,  graph: CTK
In the fields of construction and agriculture, for example, the jobless rate stands at around 30 percent. Daniel Munich, a professor at the Charles University's Centre for Economic Research, explains that the high unemployment rate among graduates of vocational schools may not actually be due to a lack of jobs but perhaps a lack of will:

"There are fields, maybe many, where student face a low probability of finding employment. We shouldn't be confused by the demand of some firms offering very low wages. There are firms that demand labour, but cheap labour. Cheap labour means labour at a wage which is not high enough to be attractive. Well, there is also a positive change. In the past, even a year ago, young graduates faced almost a sure need to serve in the military and they postponed the decision on their job. They spent something like a holiday on benefits while they waited to start military service and it contributed to the high number of unemployed."

We asked Mr. Munich if the high unemployment rate among young people leaving vocational school could actually have a positive affect, meaning that they could go back to schools to get reeducated.

"In this sense yes, but the question is whether there is available training or available schooling. Of course, there is the problem of mobility. People are not used to move, especially not for studies so they are dependent on retraining options provided in their town or district. It depends on how employment offices work - if they offer useful retraining courses and whether there is some public policy providing additional education to these people. Of course everything should start earlier, these people should be better trained in more demanded skills."