According to Eurochambres, an organisation counting 1,700 chambers of commerce, European businesses are largely optimistic about the year ahead, with sales, employment and investment expectations all on an upward trajectory, but concerns about access to skilled workers are rising. These are the main findings of the 2018 EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey (EES 2018), the 25th consecutive annual assessment of European business community expectations, based on the answers from over 50.000 businesses from 23 countries, including the Czech Republic.
According to the Czech Economic Chamber (HK), contributor of data for the Czech Republic, the expectation of Czech businesses for 2018 are more optimistic than the rest of Europe. On the one hand, Czech businesses are less concerned about the impacts of the economic crisis, Brexit and decreased demand or domestic sales. On the other hand, number one concern for Czech businesses is, according to data provided by HK, the shortage of qualified workforce, followed by labour costs, regulatory burden and economic and political conditions. Czech employers plan to hire more employees in 2018, but this could turn difficult in the situation when the unemployment rate has been hitting historical lows (3.8% in September). In line with this concern, Czech businesses plan to invest more in techology and automation in 2018, HK says. More details in Czech.
The export sales outlook within and beyond the EU is higher than in 2017, including the Czech Republic, HK says. At the European level, lack of skilled workers ranks 2nd (compared to 4th last year) among the challenges for 2018. Chambers are concerned that the generally positive outlook will be undermined if the skills mismatch is not effectively and swiftly addressed. Domestic demand is again ranked the top challenge, Eurochambres says..
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