In contrast to Western markets, companies in the Czech Republic continue to recruit, business services centers even from Western Europe

3.10.2022

While companies in Western markets are slowing down their recruitment activities or even starting layoffs, the Czech market is still actively recruiting, even qualified candidates from abroad. For example, in business, IT, and customer services, experts from abroad already make up 44 % of the total number of employees. By 2025, the local centers plan to hire another 50,000 employees, half of them should come from abroad, mostly from European Union.

While news of layoffs is coming from world-famous brands such as Tesla, Apple, Twitter, and Netflix, the Czech market is still recruiting across all sectors. The business, IT, and customer services sector is even strengthening its recruitment activities, not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad, where it is mainly looking for IT specialists, data analysts, or language-equipped employees from HR or finance. Currently, 44 % of the 145,000 employees are foreigners, and over 80 % of them are from the European Union.

“Our sector currently employs almost a tenth of all foreign workers in the Czech Republic and is thus the largest Czech employer of foreigners. As the centers continue to expand their reach and provide services to a growing number of countries, this trend will strengthen even more,”

says Jonathan Appleton, director of the ABSL association, which brings together business, IT, and customer services centers in the Czech Republic, and adds that by 2025 the industry will grow by 50,000 jobs, and it is assumed that half of them will be occupied by foreigners, most often from Western Europe. In total, thirty languages are spoken in the sector and there are representatives of more than a hundred nationalities.

Cheaper living despite inflation

Foreigners come to the Czech Republic for many reasons. The main reasons for candidates from Western European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, or France are career opportunities, which are few in their home countries with high youth unemployment. For others, the reason is often an interesting life experience or a high quality of life that they will be able to afford in the center of Europe, even despite rising costs.

“Despite the current rate of inflation, the cost of living here is still lower than in Western Europe. For example, from the point of view of arriving foreigners, rent prices in Prague are 57 % cheaper than in London, according to the numbeo.com portal. According to expatistan.com, the total cost of living in Prague is 36 % lower than in Berlin, 22 % lower than in Madrid, and 40 % lower than in Paris. In the case of smaller cities, these differences are even more striking,”

says Jonathan Appleton. In addition, the difference between inflation in the Czech Republic and Western European countries is only a few percent, so candidates from abroad do not usually make decisions based on this indicator. This is confirmed, for example, by Diogo Videira, recruitment consultant for the EMEA region at the ExxonMobil Czech Republic:

“Although inflation is certainly something foreigners consider when relocating, we did not experience any disruption on candidate inflow or international hires due to this factor in the Czech Republic. At the moment, the inflation is perhaps not a high-risk factor on talent attraction, because is not a local aspect but rather a European/worldwide phenomenon, so not much of a differentiator.”

A large part of the salary goes to housing

“People interested in working in the Czech Republic are often surprised at first that they have to spend more than half of their income on living here. However, they will soon realize that the prices of services and the overall cost of living here are much cheaper than in Western Europe, so they will still be able to live well here with the rest of their wages,”

adds Andrea Tkačuková, co-founder and CEO of the Foreigners agency, which helps foreign employees in the Czech Republic.

Complex bureaucracy and language barrier

After arriving in the Czech Republic, foreign workers face several problems with which they often need help from their employer. First of all, it runs into lengthy and complicated administrative processes, especially in the immigration process. Moreover, at the asylum and migration policy departments, they often need a Czech-speaking escort.

“Companies from our sector help their foreign employees not only with processing the necessary permits but also with relocation and practical matters related to accommodation, bank accounts, fees for municipal waste, health care or language or adaptation courses. However, they lack support from the state, for example in the provision of services in the English language or in facilitating the lengthy and complicated visa process, which, like in other countries, should be digitized,”

says Jonathan Appleton. In addition, the sector also cooperates with specialized centers that provide support to foreign professionals working in the Czech Republic and offer them advice and assistance in all areas related to settling in a new city.

“We provide support through our interactive Relocation app, which guides foreigners through the entire relocation process in 4 steps. It helps them both with the search for work and housing, as well as with processing all documents and practical questions, such as seeking medical care, etc. At the same time, we organize welcome workshops and community events for quick orientation in the city and civic duties and to connect with the community. We also publish a monthly newsletter with news,”

calculates Alena Danielová, head of the Ostrava Expat Centre.

City transport and the availability of health care are a pleasant surprise

Despite the language barrier and lengthy administrative processes, the Czech Republic is one of the most popular countries for foreigners to live and work in. Last year, for example, it was ranked 15th in the world ranking compiled by the Expat Insider organization. In addition to career opportunities and quality of life, foreigners positively rate the public transport and availability of medical care, which is often offered by many employers in English.

“One of the benefits for our employees from abroad is the private medical service we offer them and their family members at Canadian Medical company, where English-speaking doctors are available,”

explains Tomáš Ondroušek from Kyndryl. The Czechia also performs exceptionally well in the Working Abroad index, where it even ranked 3rd.

 

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