Labour market comes to terms with the pandemic’s mixed effects

Wages increased despite the virus.

The hospitality sector was one of the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The hospitality sector was one of the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. (Source: TASR)

This article was published in the Career & Employment Guide 2021, our special annual publication focused on the labour market, human resources and education.

While home office became a symbol of the pandemic’s impact on the labour market in many areas of business shortly after the coronavirus outbreak, it has since become clear just how profound the impact of the past year will be.

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The first wave in the spring of 2020 closed some of Slovakia’s biggest production plants for weeks on end. The second wave, which fully hit between October 2020 and February 2021 and placed healthcare professionals under unprecedented strain, also brought the hospitality and tourism sector to a nearly complete halt. The pandemic has closed schools for months and one of the immediate challenges this poses on the labour market is to take in the school-leavers who have not had access to practical training in their last year in school. The months of the pandemic have tested the state’s ability to aid businesses at a time of unexpected need.

The effects on the unemployment rate have been uneven across sectors, highlighting the need for the flexibility and lifelong learning HR professionals had been calling for prior to the pandemic. Companies have developed new solutions and their employees have acquired new skills, which experts on human resources expect them to benefit from even once the virus is no longer an issue.

“Workers will operate in a more agile and independent way,” said Sebastián Nemčok, branch manager at the HR company Manuvia, pointing to their recent experiences with remote work. He expects this to emerge in the aftermath of the pandemic in the reduction of companies’ office spaces and workforce.

The past year has brought about significant changes in the Labour Code, not all of them related to the pandemic. The most closely-watched changes were those related to working from home, but in the end lawyers see the adopted amendment as a wasted opportunity in this regard.

Mixed impacts across the market

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