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BUSINESS FOCUS - HUMAN RESOURCES - LABOUR MOBILITY IS A MATTER OF GENERATION, INCENTIVES, AND SECURITY, SAY ANALYSTS

Will workers hit the road?

EVEN THOUGH work force mobility remains among the most important factors for long-term business development, leading human resources experts agree that Slovakia continues to have problems with this factor. The Slovak Spectator asked human resources specialists about the aches of the labour market and the prospects for Slovaks to become more flexible in their careers.


Ronald Bastýř
photo: Anton Frič

EVEN THOUGH work force mobility remains among the most important factors for long-term business development, leading human resources experts agree that Slovakia continues to have problems with this factor. The Slovak Spectator asked human resources specialists about the aches of the labour market and the prospects for Slovaks to become more flexible in their careers.

The Slovak Spectator (TSS): In your opinion, what could improve labour mobility in Slovakia?

Ronald Bastýř (RB), branch manager at TMP/Hudson Global Resources: On-site housing can be a factor and we are seeing several of the major foreign direct investments, primarily in the automotive industry, meeting this issue with the building of new housing or offering monetary assistance for relocating.

We have seen that people have been reluctant to commute based on bad roads (taking winter conditions into consideration) and the time it would take overall. However, at the end of the day, people will move and relocate for an attractive career opportunity.



Peter Pliešovský
photo: Courtesy of ISG

Peter Pliešovský (PP), of ISG executive search: The low labour mobility is not as much a problem for managers and employees in top positions. They have adjusted to the fact that they have to travel to follow suitable jobs, and they do not really have any major problem with that.

The lack of mobility mostly concerns the manual professions. On one hand it is a matter of becoming aware that it will be necessary to travel to find labour; on the other, legislation supporting flexibility and mobility by economic incentives would help the situation.


Marcela Hrapková (MH), consultant with Teamconsult: Labour mobility is definitely a big problem with a strong cultural background that reflects the rigid and inflexible state of mind of our people. However, I think the situation will continuously improve as younger generations grow older, and as people recognise real opportunities with strong and competitive industry players.


Marcela Hrapková
photo: Anton Frič

It is also a matter of public relations and how the big corporations define themselves in the eyes of people from more remote areas. If one should move, sell a house, take his or her spouse with him or her, this requires seeing a solid and stable career or job in front of them.

As for management talents, they are concentrated mostly in the capital, resulting in a situation where, if you want an experienced manger working for you somewhere in the regions, you need to offer extra compensation for the person. On the other hand, you should have substantially lower costs with support staff or blue collar workers.


TSS: Do you think that the lack of labour mobility is the most serious problem of the Slovak labour market? What are the other problems?

RB: We see a war for talent going on in line with the incoming investments in the country, which has created an ongoing need for qualified management level professionals across all business disciplines - marketing, human resources, sales, IT, finance. Organisations have realised the importance of branding themselves as an "employer of choice" to attract the talent they seek and the implementation of effective retention measures.


PP: It appears as a decisive and most visible problem. However, the quality of human capital in Slovakia is, even in comparison with other countries, at a very good level.


MH: I do not know if this is the most serious problem; I would say it is a problem that supply and demand will balance.

To attract good managers from Bratislava maybe requires greater costs. On the other hand, when most managerial posts are already taken, younger talents will seriously consider other options in less attractive regions. The same goes for people in big unemployment regions. Once they recognise a serious work opportunity with a stable company, which would even provide cheap housing at the start, then they will go for it.

But as long as there was a big unemployment rate everywhere (and that wasn't so long ago) except for the capital city, then it took greater courage to relocate. This was because of the risk that the other partner would not be so lucky in finding a job, or doubt that the job would be long lasting.

Other problems are phenomena like the "career jam", insufficient quality or style of work or experience in certain professions, the critically high unemployment rate in certain regions of Slovakia, and schools developing talent without respect to job market demands.

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