The Czech Republic is a small but vibrant country and Prague sits in the heart of it all. Evidence of the country’s tumultuous history can be seen around every corner, giving the beautiful buildings substance and heart. This country that so recently gained its freedom from the clutches of Communism, is once again working to rebuild its democracy. Just 25 years old, the government is still young, but being part of the European Union means that it has support as it grows. Prague’s atmosphere of transition and growth provides favorable job prospects for workers in many fields from around the world.
Jobs in Prague
Automotive Industry. This is one of the largest industries in the Czech Republic and deeply rooted in the country’s history. Škoda is the most prominent automotive company, but Toyota-PSA and Hyundai, although newer to the country, are also key players. The Czech Republic may be small in size, but the country is in the top 15 car producers by volume around the world, providing plenty of automotive industry jobs in Prague.
Tourism & Hospitality. With 12 different UNESCO World Heritage sites, it is no wonder over 7.3 million tourists visited the the Czech Republic in 2013, and nearly all of them spent time in Prague. The tourism and hospitality industries encompass lodging, entertainment, restaurants, and more, and these fields are some of the best sectors for foreigner to find work in Prague.
IT Services. Information technology is a growing sector in Prague, and specialists in the field of IT services are in demand as European companies outsource much of their IT services to the Czech Republic. Many international IT companies now have branches located in Prague, including IBM, Gemalto, SAP, and HP. Within this industry, the Czech Republic works closely with Germany, and therefore both English and German-language skills are beneficial.
Teaching English. As the Czech Republic grows, so does the need for English-language skills, and thus the demand for language teachers has led to a good amount of English teaching jobs in Prague. There are bilingual kindergartens, language schools, and job opportunities for freelance teachers around the country. There are several schools offering TEFL certification programs in Prague as well.
Business Culture. The average workweek for full-time employees is 40 hours with at least four weeks of paid vacation per year. Foreigners working in Prague will most likely find the work environment of many companies to be quite formal. The Czech language has a formal and an informal second-person, and colleagues, especially those from the older generation, address each other in the formal tense and use last names.
Dress will vary from company to company, but in many places people dress quite formally at work – men wear dark or gray suits and women typically wear a simple skirt or slacks with a blouse and blazer. While English is the main language at some international companies, having at least a working knowledge of the Czech language will lead to more job opportunities in Prague as well as more opportunities for advancement, not to mention it will help you get around the city.
Life in Prague
From tourism, to language schools, to international IT companies and more, the Czech Republic’s capital offers the greatest number and most diverse job opportunities of anywhere in the country. With the entire historic city center designated as a UNESCO world heritage site, there is no lack of beauty to behold either. The city is split by the Vltava River, that runs through the center, and lovely bridges connect the two sides. Its winding cobblestone streets and alleys provide endless opportunities to get lost and found again among the city’s stunning buildings.
Although all who visit Prague are won over by its charm, there is one common complaint – the winters are seriously cold, so bring some gear. Even through these harder months, the people of Prague are surprisingly active and the streets are extra beautiful. You don’t have to travel far from the city center to have an even more immersive experience because the amount of English drops dramatically with every mile you travel outward. The city is easily navigated by foot and the residents are friendly though. The people of Prague love their dogs, fine beer, and live music, all of which will be easy to find at any place and at any time while working in Prague.
Salary & Affordability
The average salary in the Czech Republic ranges from job to job and from region to region, but those who work in Prague typically earn the most. The average gross monthly earning for wage laborers throughout the Czech Republic is around 20,000 Czech Republic Koruna (about $860) while the average for salaried employees was around 22,900 (a little over $1000). In addition to monetary compensation, many companies supply employees with daily coupons that can be used at many grocery stores and restaurants; these are meant to be used for lunch, but can be used at the employee's discretion. Many companies in the Czech Republic also offer free language courses to their employees with the larger companies even offering several language options.
For the most part, the cost of living is comparable to pay rates. Most goods and services are less expensive than in other European countries, except for luxury items which, in relation to earnings, tend to cost more.
Accommodation & Visas
As the Czech Republic is part of the European Union, EU nationals need neither a visa nor a work permit to live and work in Prague; however, they must apply for a certificate of residence. Non-EU citizens will need a visa and a work permit to work in Prague legally. It varies from company to company, but many places are willing to offer assistance in obtaining visa documents as there is quite a lot of bureaucracy surrounding the process, making visas more difficult to obtain.
Unlike some other capital cities where apartments can prove to be difficult to find, even in the Czech Republic’s capital city, it is not hard to find a place to live, and most places provide good value for money. Housing prices vary depending on where you will be working in Prague, but overall, foreign workers can expect to pay between 6500 to 9000 Czech crowns per month for a room in a shared, furnished apartment. Apartments in Prague are generally quite spacious, many include a bathroom as well as a separate toilet room.
Many of the apartments in Prague have been renovated and updated with new utilities and appliances too, so this is something to look into and ask about before renting. However, even though the technical aspects have been renovated, don’t worry, the beautiful facades, charming older staircases and railings, and picturesque bay windows are generally still intact.
Overall, internet speed and connection in the Czech Republic is very good, but whether a particular apartment comes with internet already set up varies. Most accommodations in the Czech Republic do not have air conditioning, but the weather rarely gets hotter than 80 degrees Fahrenheit even in the summer, so it isn’t needed.
Benefits & Challenges
- Bureaucracy. As is often the case for countries so recently out of Communist control, corruption and bureaucracy are still problems in the Czech Republic; nonetheless, time spent in the office is valued in the Czech Republic, and those willing to work for it definitely have the possibility to move up in the ranks and climb the corporate ladder.
- Probation Period. This could be seen as either a pro or a con, depending on which side of the situation you are on. The Labor Code in the Czech Republic stipulates that a probationary period may last no longer than three months, and during this time, both the employer and the employee may terminate the work contract at any time for any (or no) reason.
- Gender Roles. The Czech people tend to be quite traditional in terms of gender roles, so although women are treated well and welcomed into the workplace, the role of women as the primary caretaker and keeper of the home is still predominant.