Czechs give up work abroad over strong koruna

Interview

Czechs are returning home since it is not financially rewarding to work abroad now that the Czech koruna is dramatically firming and, wages in foreign countries are stagnating, daily Lidove Noviny wrote Friday.

Evzen Tomasek, director of the ASJ Inc personnel agency that mediates work abroad, is quoted as saying that citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, the two countries that joined the EU in January 2007 only, are ready to work for the minimal wage. This is not attractive for Czechs in the western countries where the costs of living are relatively high, Tomasek adds. The Czechs’ interest in Britain that was destination number one until recently has almost halved over the past few months, Lidove Noviny writes. One reason is that the pound’s exchange rate to most currencies of the world, not excluding the Czech koruna, has been decreasing since the British economy is tied to the United States the most of European countries.

The Czechs who want to work abroad now prefer other EU countries also, because of a better attitude of the locals. Czechs now prefer Belgium and the Scandinavian countries, for instance, Tomasek said. He said a number of Czechs had a negative experience with work in Britain, citing arrogant, haughty and even unserious behavior of the English to people “from the East.” Yet, Britain together with Germany and Austria are countries in which the biggest number of Czechs work, LN writes. Another reason why Czechs are more careful in their decision-making on where they would like to work is, that they have more experiences now, than a few years ago and the growing living standards in the Czech Republic, LN writes.

Ivo Bastyr, from the Labor and Social Affairs Research Institute, told LN that it is not rewarding for IT employees to seek work abroad. The reason is that a number of international firms operate in the Czech Republic which pushes salaries in the whole branch up, and so the resulting pay difference is today only minimal, Bastyr said. On the other hand, there are people who do not look for money. “The main benefit are experiences and contacts,” LN quotes Libor Suchy who has worked in London as a programmer since September, as saying. “The fall in the exchange rate is definitely bad, but the lost thousands are still worth it,” he said. (Prague Daily Monitor)

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