Low wages and corruption keeping young Slovaks from coming home

Only a third want to return to Slovakia, poll shows.

More than 300,000 mostly young Slovaks have left the country in the past 15 years.   More than 300,000 mostly young Slovaks have left the country in the past 15 years. (Source: TASR)

Though many parents would want to see their children return to Slovakia after studying abroad, just a third are actually considering coming back to the country, according to a new poll.

Six percent said they would definitely return home and 24 percent said they were more likely than not to return home in response to questions about coming back to Slovakia and their future in the country, according to a survey of 700 young people (aged 18-25) conducted by the Slovenská Sporiteľňa bank in April.

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More than 300,000 mostly young Slovaks have left the country in the past 15 years, according to the bank.

Respondents cited higher quality universities as the major reason young people (92 percent) leave to study abroad, followed by better job opportunities (60 percent). Forty-four percent of respondents said they saw studying abroad as a good way to experience life in another country.

Read also Teachers: Vision, not money, top priority for schools Read more 

“Almost a third has also left to acquire better language skills and less than a quarter following a recommendation from friends,” explained Matej Horňák, an analyst at Slovenská Sporiteľňa.

Up to 44 percent of young Slovaks prefer to study and work in the Czech Republic, with the next most popular destinations being Germany, Austria, and Great Britain. More than half of respondents plans to work abroad for a number of years, the analyst added.

In response to the findings, the bank, in cooperation with the job search website Profesia, Growni, and Innovate Slovakia, has launched a website about job opportunities and how to start a business in the hope of attracting Slovaks back to their homeland.

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“Slovakia needs people who believe in its future. That’s the only way for a better life and prosperous country,” the bank’s Dáša Juríková said, explaining the motivation for the website.

Read also Hundreds of study programmes cease to exist. Universities lack students and professors Read more 

Thirty-nine percent of young people have not made up their mind about returning to Slovakia compared to 31 percent who have ruled out this option, the poll also shows.

Almost fifty percent of parents would, however, like to see their children have a life in Slovakia.

An uncertain political situation, low wages, corruption, and lower standard of living are cited among the reasons for young people's reluctance to return to Slovakia.

“Young people would return home mainly because of family and friends (72 percent), to start their own family (35 percent) or change Slovakia for the better (27 percent),” Horňák said.

Physicist Samuel Kováčik has returned home from Ireland. “I had the feeling - and I still have - that I can help Slovakia more and create some positive change,” he said.

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