7th September 2016

On Czech labor productivity

Now, when the need to combat the problems directly related to financial crises or recession is no longer so acute and dire, it is necessary to think thoroughly about the structural problems of the Czech economy and the direction it should be taking in the long term. Czech productivity based on the relation to work hours has fallen; it is even lower than it was in 2007. Low productivity is not to be accounted for by laziness or lack of skills. It is the result of the production type and its price. 
An employee in a Czech automobile company will spend the same amount of energy in a shift, however, a car show room sells the product, on which the employee’s energy was spent, for a different price than a next-door car dealer selling German cars, Deloitte’s Chief Economist David Marek writes. Read details (in English). 

Other aspects affecting labor producitivity are mentioned in an interview (in Czech) with Lenka Čábelová of Microsoft, streamed by Radio Zet, who says that many Czechs work overtime because they do not have enough peace, for various reasons, for concentrated work during the day.  Also, a recently published survey (in Czech) by Edenred shows that, during their working day, 61% of Czechs (compared with 56% in 2009) go out regularly to eat lunch. 10% choose to eat their lunch right at their desk and the rest eats in or close to their office.  Also, almost one-quarter of Czech employees, respondents in a survey carried out by the STEM/MARK agency, have experienced some form of bullying at workplace (mobbing, bossing, staffing or chairing, for example).

Some forms of inefficiencies and related lower labor productivity in the public sector are mentioned in an article by Radio Praha. Much delayed Czech civil service law that finally took effect in 2015 and no longer should top posts in the public institutions be handed out as favours by the politicians in power. In practice, Recruitment procedures are now regarded as often over complicated and drawn out, with the selection process taking up to three months in some cases. And there’s a more basic problem, the starting pay is just the basic wage for the first six months in a new post taking no account of what experience the applicant has even though it might be 20 years or more. The proposed moves to address the recruitment problems appear to have across the board backing from government parties and the main opposition as well. The top official in charge of the Czech civil service, Josef Postránecký, says other changes could be in the pipeline such a more generous time and allowances for those who are seeking extra qualifications and more leeway for Czech officials who are seeking to gain further experience with international organisations, the article says (in English).

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic