Czech labor market can not be without foreign workers

About 472,400 foreigners were employed in the Czech Republic at the end of 2017, while 10 years ago before the crisis their number was about 200,000 lower, and foreign workers constituted almost 11 percent of the country's employment, the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) said today.

Workers mostly came from Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Poland and Bulgaria, according to data made public at a press conference.

The Labour Ministry said earlier there had been 382,900 foreign employees in Czechia in December 2016, compared to about 284,600 in 2008.

Foreigners make up about 5 percent of the country's population of 10.6 million. A total of 527,000 foreigners including asylees lived in Czechia at the end of 2017.

Some 549,600 foreigners were granted a residence permit at end-November last year, according to data of the Interior Ministry.

"Foreigners account for 10.7 percent of overall employment," Dalibor Holy, director of the CSU labour market statistics department, told CTK.

The country mostly registers foreigners in the productive age group, he said.

The Industry Ministry registered 87,200 businesses and sole traders at the end of 2017.

Foreign worker numbers have been rising since 2006, said Jarmila Maresova, a CSU labour force department expert. The crisis saw a temporary drop which changed into a marked growth in the past few years. Trade licences have been on the rise, too, but at a slower rate. EU workers are largely behind the growing numbers, the number of people from third countries rising more slowly.

In senior and specialist positions, Slovaks prevail followed by Romanians. Among foreigners, Slovaks earn the highest wages, while Ukrainians get the lowest pay.

There are a few foreign technicians and craftsmen, while a big number of foreigners operate machines and hold unqualified positions, said Holy.

It shows that people from Eastern Europe are highly skilled workers, university graduates who earn high wages, Holy said referring to Romanian and Bulgarian software engineers, for example.

The median wage of Slovaks and Romanians is higher than that of Czechs. A half of Czech workers earned more than Kc26,037 gross in 2017, while a half of Slovaks had more than Kc31,000 and half of Romanians working in Czechia earned more than Kc30,000.

Businesses want the government to ease regulations for employment of foreigners, Eva Velickova, spokeswoman for the Confederation of Industry, has told CTK.

The confederation whose members are employer associations and major companies has formulated the firms' demands.

Firms with a minimum of 10 employees are eligible for the programmes to employ foreigners. The confederation proposes to cut the number from 10 to six so that also small firms can hire foreign workers, said Velickova.

Source: CTK

Tereza Řezníčková
section Aktuálně