27th April 2018

Večerník, Jiří (ed.): Work, values, well-being. Czech reality in the European context

The book describes the fields of work and family in the Czech Republic in comparison with European countries using statistical and sociological surveys. The first part is devoted to the labour market and education. The second part aims at objective and subjective well-being, their indicators and determinants. The third part describes work and life values including religion. To each part, a “historical appendix” is attached using less recent sources and describing former initiatives in given areas.


From the study:

Although compared with EU, labour costs are low in the Czech Republic, there is a burden for employers in the form of high contributions for social and health insurance. Labour mobility is not particularly intensive in the Czech Republic, but there is a big fluctuation of individuals in terms of professions, companies and positions. The shift from the blue collar to the white collar jobs has been slow, but not insignificant, with the number of those with attained tertiary education or employed in the research and development sector growing. For some foreign companies, the Czech Republic has become a strategic base in Europe. 

Only 4% of employees in the Czech Republic work less than 30 hours per week compared with the average of 15% in the EU. It is usually females, but the high share of grey economy in the Czech Republic may indicates that due to low income from this form of employment, part-timers combine their regular jobs with other jobs/unreported incomes.

The study also focuses on qualification mismatch. The report says that genrally overqualified employees earn less and underqualified earn more than those whose positions match with their qualifications. Wages are fully determined neither by education/qualifications nor only by job competition, i.e. the market - the reality is somewhere inbetween.   

In terms of life-long education, those with higher attained education are more motivated for further education. The motivation of those unemployed or outside the labour market is very low. This results in a low effectiveness of requalification courses that target primarily the latter group. Czech employers tend to invest more in further education of females than males. Underlying factors are that females usually work in professions where the need for requalification is higher and also, females often need to requalify after maternity leave. 

The study also focuses on subjective well-being of the Czech society that seems to be affected by factors such as happiness at work, gender, age, education, type of household, economic status, income and health conditions. One of the study findings in the area of happiness at work states that in Eastern Europe, effects of gender and education on happiness at work are insignificant. Effects of "diversity of tasks" and "outlook for promotion" are stronger in Eastern Europe, whereas "health and safety at work risks" and "possibility to organize work by myself" play a bigger role in Western Europre. Long working hours generally reduce the level of happiness at work.

The report also analyzes data on happipness at work related with maternity leave and care of children. The decision to return to work and the type of employment is determined by subjective choice of women based on their values and preferences, the report says. Current social policy (to increase employment of mothers or policy that makes them rather stay at home) has a little effect on their perceived happiness. Even the accessibility of pre-school child care or willingness of employers to offer them flexible working hours has not as big influence. Therefore, an effective social policies in this area should give mothers choice based on their subjective preferences.


Full study in Czech free for download:





Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic