People commute to carmakers

Carmakers in western Slovakia report lack of accommodation.

Companies would like to see more lodging houses built. Companies would like to see more lodging houses built. (Source: SME)

In Trnava, it is impossible to find enough qualified workers within a 50km area. If somebody wants to work for a carmaker and he does not have a flat or family in western Slovakia, he can have problems with accommodation, a survey by personnel agency Wincott People found. Accommodation is one of the main reasons why carmakers are facing problems with hiring new employees.

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“There is a lack of accommodation capacities in Bratislava Region, caused by a large number of employers and the growing problem of a shortage of local workforce,” said Katarína Barabasová from Adecco Slovakia personnel agency.

Overly expensive housing

The situation with accommodation is complicated by the fact that the carmakers and their suppliers built their plants on green fields with no accommodation capacities, according to Adecco.

“Trnava and Nitra seem to have many accommodation facilities at first glance, but they are all fully occupied at the moment,” said Jana Mesárová, regional manager of Wincot People, adding that the companies do not have facilities to accommodate new workers. “The problem will become even more profound when Jaguar enters into full operation.”

Read also: Rental housing lacks tradition in Slovakia Read more 

The fourth carmaker in Slovakia, Jaguar Land Rover plans to launch production in 2018. Recruiting will start this year. Overall, Jaguar wants to employ 2,800 people. Hundreds of additional jobs will be created throughout the supplier network.

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The arrival of Jaguar can be sensed in Nitra even now, with prices of local housing increasing.

“Year on year, the prices of flats increased by 20-30 percent,” said Juraj Šimeg from a real estate agency in Nitra. “Studios and one-bedroom flats even increased by 45 percent.”

New projects for the construction of flats in Nitra should, according to Šimek, create 500 new apartments in the coming years.

Higher costs

Some companies in Bratislava employ over 1,000 people, including the biggest carmaker in Slovakia, Volkswagen Slovakia, with nearly 11,000 employees. About 1,000 of them are using the accommodation facilities provided by the company, which also has agreements with five lodging houses and covers part of the costs of its employees.

Unlike the regions that are struggling with a lack of accommodation; in the case of Bratislava, the problem is rather the increasing costs of accommodation in various facilities.

In January, the capital increased the accommodation tax, and extended the tax to cover also those people living in such lodgings.

The Trend weekly estimates that in 2017 the Volkswagen employees living in such lodgings may pay €600,000 more for accommodation than last year. Every night, Bratislava charges those in hotels and lodging houses €1.70.

VW Slovakia sees the extension of the accommodation tax on workers living in lodging houses as a serious obstacle for travelling to Bratislava for work.

Lucia Kovarovič Makayová, spokesperson for Volkswagen Slovakia, specified that Volkswagen has been already struggling with the labour shortage in the region and therefore the company would welcome measures that support the people who are willing to travel to work from more distant regions.

More regions affected

The new tax for workers from outside Bratislava does not only affect the carmaker but also its suppliers, for example the Faurecia or Schnelleke companies. They employ thousands of people, who travel to Bratislava from other towns or countries.

“The unemployment rate in Bratislava and its vicinity is really in minus as the number of the commuting workers highly exceeds the unemployed people in the region,” Mesárová said.

Problems with hiring people are not unknown in the other regions. Mesárová said that in Trnava it is impossible to find enough workers within a 50-kilometre area.

The situation is similar in Žilina, where Kia Motors Slovakia and its suppliers are concentrated in a comparatively small area. However, Kia does not provide accommodation for employees as it employs only people from Žilina Region.

“Currently, we are using 32 direct bus lines,” said Jozef Bačé, the Kia spokesman. The buses operate from Liptovský Mikuláš, Trstená, Turčianske Teplice, Považská Bystrica, Skalité and Makov.

“There are no car manufacturers in eastern Slovakia, but the suppliers to the automotive segment are active in this region,” said Mesárová.

Most of them are based in Košice and Prešov. The situation is somewhat better than in the west. Košice and Prešov manage to supply the lacking workforce from the nearby regions with high unemployment.

The situation concerning accommodation is, however, complicated. Košice has a long-standing tradition of labour lodgings, but in Prešov they are scarce. This creates a paradox, when the prices of accommodation in Prešov are twice as high as in Košice, although concerning apartments, the situation is the opposite.

© Sme

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