Companies in the Czech Republic have the second-hardest time in the European Union in filling information and communication technologies (ICT) positions.
Figures reported in 2019 show some 9% of EU enterprises with 10 or more people, excluding the financial sector, recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists. Almost three-fifths, or 58%, reported that they had problems filling vacancies requiring relevant ICT skills, according to EU statistical arm Eurostat. This is the highest figure since 2011.
In the Czech Republic in that same time, 7% of companies tried to recruit ICT specialists, and 80% of them found it difficult. This was second only to Romania, where only 3% of enterprises recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists and 90% of them found it hard to fill these vacancies.
Coming in third was Austria at 74%, followed by Sweden at 72%. Filling out the top 11 in the EU in terms of difficulty in filling ICT positions are Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, tied at 69%, Malta at 66%, and then Belgium, Slovenia, and Finland, tied at 66%.
The countries reporting the easiest time filling ICT specialists positions were in Spain at 27% and Greece at 38%.
In the Czech Republic, the difficulty in filling ICT positions has risen over time and has always been above the EU average, The difficulty level has also been rising faster the EU average. For 2012, some 47% of companies seeking ICT experts had difficulty, while the EU average was 40%. By 2016, this figure rose 19 percentage points to 66%, while the EU average had risen just 3 percentage points to 43%.
Eurostat figures now exclude the UK, which is no longer an EU member.
The Czech Republic has long had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU, which has made the labor market quite competitive. According to Eurostat figures for 2019, the Czech Republic had a 2.0% unemployment rate, the lowest in the EU, while Spain was highest with 14.1%. Figures for Greece, which was at 19.3% in 2018, were not reported. The Czech Republic has been below 3.0% since 2017.
Recruitment firm Hays stated in its 2020 report for the Czech labor market that high demand for qualified candidates in information technology should continue in 2020, despite the “gradual rationalization of the labor market situation.”
They pointed out in the previous report for 2019 that demand for employees in information technology could no longer be met solely on the local market, so companies were increasingly turning to foreign countries for candidates.
“Prague particularly benefits in this respect due to its popularity; it regularly occupies leading positions as a tourist destination as well as a place where foreigners live and work,” the Hays report for 2019 added.
The report for 2020 stated that wage increases even for sectors with high demand such as information technology may have peaked and were likely to stagnate. Employers were more likely to offer increased benefits rather than higher wages.