One shock after another. Labour market copes with pandemic impacts and the arrival of refugees

Climate crisis a factor in the labour market’s development as well.

The pandemic has turned the home office into a regular tool. The pandemic has turned the home office into a regular tool. (Source: Courtesy of Henkel Slovensko)

The Slovak economy and labour market had not yet recovered from the shock of the pandemic when other impactful events transpired: the computer-chip shortage, soaring prices of energy resources and raw materials, and most recently, the war in Ukraine and its repercussion.

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So what is in stock for the Slovak labour market in the coming year? Mostly uncertainty, experts say.​

​“I fear that the Russian aggression in Ukraine, demographic changes and particularly the climate crisis will not allow the Slovak labour market to further develop the way it had in the past 15 years,” Michal Páleník, from the Employment Institute (IZ), a non-governmental think tank, told The Slovak Spectator. He expects a number of significant changes: those that are necessary in the health sector, those linked to support for green technologies, as well as climate-crisis-induced changes in sectors like agriculture and forestry.

“There will definitely be a much greater need for lifelong learning or part-time work. The question is whether they will manifest themselves in 2022 or a little later.”

Related article Slovak people are not job hoppers Read more 

Unemployment down, wages up, for now

In spite of the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the Slovak economy grew by 3 percent year-on-year in 2021 after a 4.4 percent drop the year before. The rise in economic activity translated to the national labour market, whose condition improved during the year with a positive effect on unemployment. The annual unemployment rate plummeted by more than 1 percentage point, to 6.76 percent. The employment rate for the 20-64 age group stabilised at 74.6 percent, with no change between 2020 and 2021.

The average monthly nominal wage increased by €78 or 6.9 percent year-on-year, reaching €1,211.

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“We have registered positive developments in all sectors without exception,” analyst Matúš Baliak of the Social Policy Institute told The Slovak Spectator.

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