Survey: Foreign investors most upbeat about economy in eight years

Lack of qualified labour increases wage costs.

(Source: TASR )

Foreign investors have positive perceptions of the economic situation in Slovakia, so much so that their evaluation is actually the most optimistic it has been in eight years, a survey among European investors in Slovakia shows. On the other hand, they complain about lack of qualified labour. In addition, they thought the government should step up its efforts in combating corruption and dishonest practices in procurements. Representatives of the Slovak-German Trade and Industry Chamber (SNOPK) and others participating organisations introduced the results of the survey on March 30.

“The government has a lot to do,” Vladimír Slezák, president of the Slovak-German Trade and Industry Chamber (SNOPK) wrote in a press release when indicating what should be done to improve the international competitiveness of Slovakia. “Apart from problems on the labour market this would mean also combating corruption and unfair practices in public procurement.”

The foreign investors in Slovakia appreciate the workforce’s productivity, availability and the quality of local suppliers, the qualification of workers as well as labour costs.

Nevertheless, in terms of the latter they expect that wage costs will increase this year by as much as 6.8 percent. This is the highest expected increase in the last four years while Commercial Counsellor of the Austrian Embassy to Slovakia Hans Christian Kügerl ascribed this increase to the lack of labour force and efforts by employers to fill vacancies.

In spite of this Slovakia remains an attractive destination for foreign investors. Respondents of the survey put it in second place, after the Czech Republic. Estonia, Slovenia and Poland followed.

But the share of investors who would choose Slovakia again for their investment decreased by 6 percentage points to 79 percent compared with the previous year. Lack of labour force has been cited as one of the reasons for this decrease again.

Apart from SNOPK the survey was organised by Advantage Austria Bratislava, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia and the Slovak-Austrian Chamber of Commerce. Of the total 176 attending companies 52.3 percent accounted for industry, 19.9 percent for trade and 27.8 percent for services.

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