Companies face difficulties finding employees in a tight labor market, even when offering higher salaries and various benefits. This challenging situation has led some businesses to take unconventional measures. For instance, the Příbram-based ZAT, specializing in delivering control and intelligent systems for energy and industry, has struggled to find technical specialists and experts. They acquired a fully-owned stake in Definity Systems, a Benešov company with thirty specialized developers to address the shortage. Similarly, Sodexo, a company needing IT employees, has been experiencing prolonged difficulties filling technical positions.
The shortage of skilled workers also affects BR Group, which encompasses thirteen manufacturing companies. The company is facing a shortage of welders, grinders, operators, and CNC machine adjusters. For instance, there have been only three applicants for the position of adjuster for the bending machine in the company’s continuous advertising efforts over the past five years.
The Žďas engineering company, specializing in heavy engineering and metallurgy, faces similar challenges. The company is struggling to find qualified workers, from welders to crane operators, blacksmiths to machinists, and technologists to designers and programmers. The lack of interest in these professions is partly due to a decline in vocational education or the limited scope of vocational training.
The shortage of workers is causing production issues for these companies, forcing them to decline specific orders due to capacity constraints. Furthermore, it severely impacts the utilization of technologies, as the companies must make decisions on deploying available capacity and temporarily shutting down certain technologies during periods of higher absenteeism.
Recruitment Efforts and Company Initiatives
To address the shortage, companies are resorting to various recruitment strategies. Žďas, for example, utilizes a range of possibilities, including advertising, social media campaigns, and regional contact campaigns. The company offers recruitment incentives, collaborates with agencies, employment offices, secondary and tertiary educational institutions, and provides various incentives for students and educators. Over the past two years, Žďas has significantly increased its average salary to attract more candidates.
Alpha Czech, a company specializing in producing and developing reflective coatings for households, industry, and construction, is also facing difficulties finding suitable employees. Despite advertising for three laboratory and research specialists over the past six months, they have received no qualified applicants. Although the company occasionally receives resumes, some are not closely aligned with the required profession or expertise. Nevertheless, the company offers above-average salaries, vehicles for personal use, and even apartment rentals.
Impact on the Czech Economy and Calls for Change
According to employer associations and human resources experts, the shortage of qualified workers is considered one of the biggest obstacles to the Czech economy. According to a survey, sixty-two percent of employers struggle to fill vacant positions. The number of people retiring yearly is significantly higher than the number of graduates entering the labor market. This trend raises concerns about the future, especially when considering the retirement of the generation born during the era of Gustav Husák.
To address this issue, the Confederation of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic is urging a more open migration policy to attract qualified individuals. They emphasize the need for a significant reduction in the processing time for immigration documents, as the current timeframes are deemed unreasonable. Additionally, it is necessary to enhance the attractiveness of technical fields for students.
The shortage of employees is not only impacting individual businesses but also has broader implications for the economy. Companies and policymakers must work together to find innovative solutions and create an environment that fosters the growth and development of the workforce.