Job Hunting for Foreigners in Czech Republic

We continue our blog series about job market specificities in different countries*. Today Valeria Lebedieva asked Pavla Mulvey, Managing Partner at TARGET Executive Search CEE, to answer our questions regarding job market in Czech Republic.

How is the job market for foreign managers in Czech Republic?

The demand is not as great as it was some years ago. We now have a great pool of well-educated, experienced Czech managers. Even in turn, we have many Czech managers with work experience from abroad, who are mature and trusted enough to take over senior managerial roles.

There are still of course many expats / foreign managers, but these typically come internally within large corporate organizations rather than being hired externally. Last year I had a case where my search was focused predominantly on the West European market. This was however due to a very difficult technical profile, where we knew this skill doesn’t exist in any shape in our local market.

In which areas / industries is there the biggest shortage of local expertise?

Technical expertise is the biggest problem of the local labour market: technical experts directly involved in production / manufacturing sectors, but also technically skilled people capable of business / sales development.

Crisis management is also still something the Czech managers could improve in, when comparing to expats. As for the rest – I would say the differences are more and more diminishing.

How important is it for job hunting managers to know Czech?

It depends on the industry: if we are looking at manufacturing / production fields, Czech language is very important. When looking at marketing or General Management of FMCG, Telco, Banking or any of service sectors, the need to speak Czech is diminishing. Most of the expatriate top managers I know are taking active Czech language classes as it is a huge advantage to have at least basic skills for both professional and personal life here.

What skills or competencies do they have to demonstrate to be successful?

Soft skills are becoming something very important on any searches. Proven results are something most candidates posses – such as sales results, cost optimization, technical knowledge etc. But most candidates seem to lack the following interpersonal skills: a true leadership approach, conflict solving, prioritizing under stress and so on.

What are specifics of the Czech executive recruitment market?

I don’t know of any specifics that I haven’t found in different countries – I have worked as a headhunter in the UK and seriously can’t think of anything specific enough for the Czech Republic.
But if we’ll take the most typical things for the Czech job market, I would note lack of flexibility when considering relocation / commuting, unrealistic financial expectations and undermining the local labour market by foreign companies / investors.

Where would you recommend foreign managers to go to find a job?
Search the Internet. With networks such as LinkedIn and other media everything is a click away for anyone. Also check your network, both professional and private areas.

What obstacles can such an expat expect while job hunting?

Language skills – it is becoming more and more difficult to find a job locally, if not sent “internally” by a HQ, salary expectations not matching the local conditions, general lack of understanding how the local system works.

We asked a Polish manager, who’s spent almost 3 years as an expat on the Czech market, to give his comments. Marcin Kolago, currently Head of Central Functions Department at envia Service GmbH in Cottbus Area, Germany. He pointed out the following:

– The Czech job market is not too different from the Polish one. It’s very Prague-centric.
Prague as a job market is a lot more diverse than most of all post-socialistic cities.

– There are a lot of foreigners, also in non-executive jobs.

– There are many positions in SSCs for diverse nationalities, including language teaching for native speakers.

Speaking Czech is not mandatory to find a job.

– Czech authorities are not as foreigner-friendly as they could be, though this counts rather for non-EU nationals.

– Interviews etc. are also very similar to Poland.

– Prague has quite a few regular networking events where one can meet people, although they are more social than really professional-oriented.

– There are also many contacts between the Czech and Russian-speaking world, mainly Russia or Ukraine (tourists, students), so speaking Russian could be an advantage.

– In my opinion CZ headhunters are less pro-active on Linkedin than in Poland.

We’d like to thank both Pavla and Marcin for sharing their knowledge, observations and insights.

* Please also see our previous blog posts:
Job Hunting for Foreigners in Poland
Job Hunting for Foreigners in Slovak Republic

If you’d like to read more on Czech Republic: about Czech Republic about Czech Republic about Czech Republic