Young workers a rarity on Czech labour market

Photo: suphakit73 /

The number of young working Czechs has been decreasing since the early 1990s. The employment rate of people between the ages of 15 to 24 in the Czech Republic is the lowest in the EU, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Wednesday.

Photo: suphakit73 /
While in 1993, the number of working people between the ages of 15 and 24 was around 800, 000, it gradually dropped to last year’s 300,000. The figure includes employees, seasonal workers as well as self-employed.

According to experts, the trend is caused mainly by changes in the country’s educational system and insufficient support of young workers.

“The slump reflects the radical changes in the development of population since the 1990s. It also points at the changes in our educational system, which has shifted to university education,” Dalibor Holý, an expert on labour market and equal opportunities, told the daily Hospodářské Noviny.

He also said that young Czechs were not sufficiently supported to look for jobs and compared to their peers from other EU states, they were living with their parents longer. In 2014, only 4.6 percent of Czechs between the ages of 15 and 19 had work experience. In Scandinavian countries, Holland, Great Britain, Austria and Germany, this figure usually hovers between 22 to 44 percent.

On the other hand, the number of working Czechs between the ages of 55 and 64 has been gradually increasing. In 1993 the figure stood at 315,000, while in 2014 it already reached over 770,000.

A large share of people who are currently employed were born in the 1970s. Experts warn that as the strong generation grows older, the average age of workers in the Czech Republic is likely to increase as well.

Among the other factors behind the dropping number of young working Czechs is the increase of retirement age. While young Czechs are not eager to work, there was a significant increase of working people in the pre-retirement age, between the ages of 55 to 59. The employment rate in that age group reached 76.9 percent in 2014, which is the fourth highest figure after Sweden, Germany and Denmark.

On the other hand, the number of working Czechs drops significantly once they reach the age of 60, to 32.2 percent, while EU average is 36.6.

The length of working activity in the Czech Republic was estimated at 34.9 years in 2014, a little below the EU average, which was 35.5. The longest working activity, 41.4 years, was recorded in Sweden, while Italy is on the other end of the scale with 30.6 years.