Record low Czech unemployment rate attracting foreign graduates

At 2.9 percent, the Czech unemployment rate is the lowest in 22 years, and in particular graduates have never had it easier finding work. According to labour office statistics there are currently ten vacancies per graduate, a state of affairs that is attracting young people from Greece, Italy or Spain to the Czech Republic.

Photo: Gerd Altmann / Pixabay CC0 Public DomainPhoto: Gerd Altmann / Pixabay CC0 Public Domain Eurostat data suggest that 80 percent of graduates in the European Union find work soon after leaving school. However not all EU member states afford good labour market opportunities for people starting out in their career. 33-year-old Josephine from Spain is a graphic designer who came to the Czech Republic on an internship in 2013 and decided to stay because there was little chance of finding work in her field of expertise at home.

“I think in the last decade the qualification level of young people has increased, but employment rates have fallen. So suddenly we have all these young people who cannot find a job in their field of work, looking for jobs that require lower qualifications. In the end you find yourself considering whether to go abroad. Because obviously I want to work in the field I studied.”

The Czech Republic ranks third on the European ladder as regards job opportunities for graduates. Malta is at the top, while countries such as Greece, Italy or Spain have far less to offer their graduates. As a result many young people are looking for work further afield. Most hope to be able to return home when the situation improves. Josephine is not holding out much hope and she is uncertain as to what the future will bring.

“I do not know if I will return home in the future. Maybe after turning sixty (laughs). I will not stay here forever. I will move eventually. But my plans are not in Spain.”

The highest number of foreign graduates who seek work in the Czech Republic are from Greece where the number of jobless school graduates is the highest in the European Union. Every month 150 to 200 Greek school-leavers look for work in the Czech Republic.

Photo: UNDP in Europe and Central Asia via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SAPhoto: UNDP in Europe and Central Asia via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA Young Czechs leaving the country are going in search of better money or valuable experience abroad. Those who want to stay can take their pick. Labour office data indicate that in 2017 90 percent of Czech school graduates found employment in this country. In many cases young people manage to secure a job even before graduating –either due to an internship or at the many workshops organized by firms seeking young employees fresh out of school.

Some universities have set up web sites at which companies looking for graduates can place job offers and internship offers. Labour Office spokesman Martin Bačkovský says the booming economy and the low unemployment means that many companies no longer require work experience.

“There are currently 300,000 job vacancies on the labour market and in the case of 70,000 job offers lack of experience is not considered a drawback.“