Prague, Czech Republic – As high unemployment remains a lingering issue in many EU economies, the Czech Republic is faced with the exact opposite problem: there aren’t just enough people around to fill vacant positions.
According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, the Czech Republic has the highest job vacancy rate in Europe, by far: 6.2% of the total number of posts were vacant at the end of June, well ahead of Belgium (3.4%), the Netherlands (3.4%), Germany (3.3%) or Latvia (3.2%).
For the sake of comparison, the average job vacancy rate in the EU and Eurozone stood at 2.3% this year.
The situation isn’t as dire in neighbouring Visegrad countries, who remain on a par with or even below the bloc’s average: in Hungary, 2.5% of job positions were still vacant during the second quarter of 2019, compared to only 1.1% in both Poland and Slovakia – slightly less than one year ago.
At the other end of the scope, Greece (0.7%), Spain (0.9%), Bulgaria (0.9%), Portugal (1%) and Ireland (1%) had the lowest share of job vacancies in Europe.
Labor shortage has been one of the most pressing and challenging issues in the Czech Republic for several years, regularly cited by business owners and employers as one of the main obstacles hampering their growth and activity.
To ease the burden, the Czech government has turned to foreign workforce to find abroad the employees and workers who are lacking at home.
In that regard, the Czech Republic recently doubled the quotas of Ukrainian workers allowed in the country, and has also implemented special working visa schemes with a handful of foreign countries, like the Philippines, Serbia, India and Mongolia, to facilitate and accelerate the delivery and relocation process.
The lack of available workforce has also had a number of unintended consequences, including the rise of illegal workers in the country as Czech employers scramble – at all costs – to find applicants to fill their open job positions.