EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Czech Republic: ERM Comparative Analytical Report on Recent Policy Developments related to those Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET)

  • Observatory: EMCC
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  • Published on: 06 February 2012



About
Country:
Czechia
Author:
TomᚠSoukup
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

Unemployment of NEETs is not currently regarded as a priority in the Czech Republic in terms of solution urgency and is mostly viewed as one of the issues in the employment policy, i.e. in addition to unemployment of people aged 50+, unemployment of mothers with young children or the issue of qualification disproportions of supply and demand on the labour market. A special category of NEETs, whose situation is a topic of discussions, is represented by young people coming from socially excluded Roma locations with an extremely high unemployment rate.

1. Introduction

1.1 What is the level of interest among the different stakeholders in your country (policy makers, the media, employers and trade unions) in the issue of NEETs? What are their reasons for having a high/ low level of interest in the topic? (Expected length 100 words)

The issue of NEETs’ unemployment is not as urgent in the Czech Republic as in the other EU countries. This is also reflected in interests of key stakeholders, when NEET unemployment is considered one of numerous problems in the employment policy. Recent discussions have been focusing rather on the decreasing quality of primary education outputs and incompatibility of branches of study and the labour market need.

A special category of NEETs is represented by young people coming from socially excluded Roma locations. According to some surveys, the unemployment rate in these locations has risen up to 90% and young people represent a multiple successive generation of the unemployed. Unfortunately, this problem is still paid rather a verbal than a real attention.

1.2 Using the following table, please identify which sub-groups of NEETs are of particular concern to the different stakeholders in your country. Please indicate the relative importance of each group to the different stakeholders; for each group please state whether they are felt to be of ‘significant concern’, ‘some concern’, or ‘no concern’ to the different stakeholders.

Table 1 – NEETs sub-groups
 

Public/media debate

e.g. the extent to which the issue is discussed within the news media

Mainstream Policy

e.g. the range of policy documents tackling the issue, the amount of investment committed to tackling the problem

Employers

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Trade unions

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Young people who are unemployed

2

2

3

3

Young people who are in ‘precarious’ or unsuitable employment (e.g. temporary contracts, forced self-employment, part-time work, or jobs which are not commensurate with their level of qualifications)

2

3

3

2

Early school leavers – young people who have dropped out of education before obtaining an upper secondary level qualification

2

2

2

2

Young people with qualifications which do not meet labour market needs

2

1

1

2

Teenage/ single parents

3

3

3

3

Migrants and minority groups

2

2

3

3

Young people with disabilities

3

3

3

3

Young people from workless families

3

2

3

3

Young people from disadvantaged areas

2

2

3

3

Young people with tertiary education who have been unsuccessful in accessing the labour market

2

2

2

2

Other (please specify):        

Note: 1 significant concern, 2 some concern, 3 no concern.

1.3 Are there any policy measures in your country targeted at those NEETs with tertiary education? If yes please describe these briefly (expected length 100 words).

Yes.

Since 2005 school-leavers (including university graduates) have not been entitled to unemployment benefit, which makes them to search a job more speedily. This measure has helped to reduce the number of NEETs significantly.

It needs to be highlighted that in terms of employment generally, university graduates are regarded as highly flexible in CZ, therefore employers prefer young people (including school-leavers and graduates) opposed to older candidates (whom, on the contrary, employers regard as non-flexible).

University NEETs rank among the supported groups of the unemployed who can enter programmes of the European Social Fund (ESF). This applied to the national active labour policy (ALP) till 2008, and since 2009 the category at risk includes only the NEETs under the age of 20.

A sub-category of university NEETs under the age of 29 is represented by mothers on maternity or parental leave. Employment of mothers with young children is low in the Czech Republic compared to the EU.

2. NEET Policies and Measures

2.1 Measures to tackle early school leaving

Preventive Measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.1 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to preventing early school leaving. Where does the focus of policies and measures to prevent early school leaving lie?

We consider early school leavers to be persons at the age of 16-24 years with the completed, highest education level ISCED 2, who are no longer in the education system.

Early school leavers in the Czech Republic do not represent a serious problem unlike in the other EU countries. Their proportion does not exceed 10%. This is primarily caused by the fact that school attendance is compulsory until the 9th grade, which covers both ISCED 1 and 2. Also, it must be taken into account that from the perspective of social and cultural norms it is considered important to attain secondary education at least. Reasons can be also seen in the demographical development – with regard to the slump in the birth rate in the 1990s, there is a surplus of educational capacities at the present time, and students can thus be accepted easily to study a desired field of study.

The problem is a low level of education of the Roma population, especially in the socially excluded locations. These locations show a high percentage of pupils placed at special schools, compulsory school attendance is often terminated prematurely, or pupils do not continue studying at secondary schools. This is caused, to a certain degree, by values and norms in the family, when the Roma population does not attach much importance to education. From the limited point of view of a purely financial profit it is often more convenient after completing the primaryeducation to register with theLabour Office (Úřad práce ČR, ÚP ČR) and attend a re-training programme, since the trainee receives a financial support for his/her attending the re-training programme.

2.1.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to prevent early school leaving in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: Preventive measures

Early School Leaving: Preventive measures

Name of measure

Description of the measure: aims and objectives

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Assistants at schools

Assistants, mostly at schools with an increased percentage of pupils from Roma families, helping teachers during lessons

local measure

unilateral

national and European funding

NEET specific measure

targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background and minority group

Measure 2:

Preparatory grades for Roma children before the primary school attendance

local measure

unilateral

national and European funding

NEET specific measure

targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background and minority group

Measure 3:

Public relation – providing information on significance of education, publishing opportunities for employment based on education attained (high unemployment among primary educated people), press releases, internet pages, etc.

national and regional

unilateral

national, European and private funding

general measure

not targeted

2.1.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the preventive early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

Reintegration measures to tackle early school leaving

In our opinion, the most efficient are measures regarding public relations, i.e. public advice of significance of education.

Discussions about the value of education have a relatively long tradition in CZ. PR is supported both from the departmentallevel -Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí, MPSV ČR),Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, MEYS (Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy ČR, MŠMT ČR) and by schools themselves, who promote their institutions, raising thus general interest in education.

Activities: press releases, briefings, statistics on unemployment by education, press articles, radio and TV programmes, specialised web sites dedicated to school selection (including forecast prosperousness of each line of study), promotional measure of specific secondary schools and universities.

Unfortunatelly there is no formal evidence of its success.

2.1.4 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to the reintegration of early school leavers. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

Among measures which have been adopted in the Czech Republic to re-integrate early school leavers, it primarily concerns cancellation of the unemployment benefit for school leavers since 2005. For young people it is nowadays more advantageous in economic terms to continue studying. A significant role is also played by “psychological” pressure of Labour Office personnel who highlight the value of education and encourage return to school. Another measure is an opportunity of a subsidized job for school leavers and graduates, however, we do not consider it much efficient if only for the reason that employers naturally prefer school leavers and graduates with advanced human capital who are able to find job regardless measures of subsidies.

2.1.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to reintegrate early school leavers in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: reintegration measures

Early School Leaving: Reintegration measures

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Cancellation of the unemployment benefit for school leavers and graduates

national

unilateral

no funding

NEET specific

not targeted

Measure 2:

Consulting in Labour Office

national

unilateral

national funding

general measure

targeted on disadvantaged groups

Measure 3:

Subsidised work

unilateral

national and European funding

general measure

should be targeted, but mostly is not targeted

2.1.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the reintegration early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

Cancellation of the unemployment benefit for school leavers and graduates – entitlement to the unemployment benefit is conditioned by at least 12 months of employment during the recent three years, whereas only 6 months of school attendance counts in. Therefore, most school leavers and graduates are not entitled to the unemployment benefit. By introducing measures in 2005 the unemployment rate of young people and school leavers and graduates dropped markedly. Whereas in December 2003 school leavers and graduates made up 10% of all the unemployed, in December 2005 it was 7.6% only.

2.2Measures to facilitate access to employment

Facilitating the transition from school to work

2.2.1 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to facilitating school to work transitions. Where does the focus of policies and measures to facilitate transitions lie?

Measures focusing on fostering transition from school to work take several forms. Primarily, it is consulting in Labour Office, the purpose of which is to intermediate a job or to advise how to look for a job. However, with respect to the Labour Office personnel capacity (approx. 400-500 job applicants per one consultant), consulting cannot be assumed to be intensive.

Another form of consulting is represented by private websites intermediating jobs. The largest websites are jobs.cz, holding about 80% of the market share. These websites include not only job vacancies, but also allow job candidates and vacant jobs matching, offer advice on how to prepare a CV, look for a job, how to make a self-promotion, etc.

Information on how to look for a job is also a frequent topic in national newspapers and magazines.

Benefit can be also expected from predicting educational needs and matching of candidates and job vacancies based on skills. Both measures are, however, still being developed and prepared.

2.2.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to facilitate school to work transitions in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 4 - Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions

Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Consulting in Labour Office

national

unilateral

national

general

not specially targeted

Measure 2:

Information on methods of looking for a job

national, regional

unilateral

private funding

general

not targeted

Measure 3:  

2.2.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the school-to-work transition measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

Measures to foster employability

The most efficient way in terms of NEET as a target group can be currently seen in the offer of private, job-dedicated websites which have been dealing with job-search issues in the long run. They inform job candidates on how to look for a job, how to be active, how to write a CV, how to promote themselves, how to get ready for an interview, etc. Actually all the school leavers are computer-literate, therefore this method of providing information is adequate. This highly efficient form of consulting has been expanding along with the Internet boom in the Czech Republic, that means starting from about the year 2000. The offer by private job-search websites which must attract, for their own profit, as many job candidates and employers as possible is usually interesting, wide-ranging and topical. Unfortunately, there are no conclusive records on their success rate.

I do not consider consulting carried out in Labour Office efficient if only for the reason of consultants’ availability not allowing an individual consulting.

2.2.4 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to fostering employability among NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

It was common in the past that a certain part of secondary education was performed at employers’ sites. After 1990 this practice has been neglected, only in recent years the education system started to renew this practice as a consequence of a lack of experts with technical background. Universities do not usually prescribe practical internships as compulsory and individual students arrange their own, short-term jobs.

2.2.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to foster employability of NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 5 - Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships)

Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships).

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Re-training courses, reorientation courses.

unilateral

general measure

not specially targeted

Measure 2:

---

Measure 3:

---

2.2.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country to foster the employability of NEETs (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

There is no specific measure for NEET.

Removing practical and logistical barriers

2.2.7 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to removing practical and logistical barriers for NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

There do not exist programmes in the Czech Republic that would largely help overcoming practical and logistic barriers. In the past an employer could apply for a subsidy onemployee transport. However, this measure was cancelled in 2009 as a result of a lack of employers’ interest.

2.2.8 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to remove practical and logistical barriers to employment for NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 6 - Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers

Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

no measure

Measure 2:  
Measure 3:  

Employer incentives

2.2.9 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to incentivising employers to recruit young people (who are NEET). Where does the focus of policies and measures to incentivise employers lie?Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

In the Czech Republic employers can receive a subsidy from the Labour Office or ESF projects to employ job candidates at risk. In 2010 the active policy found employment for 26,000 job candidates (with the total number of the unemployed approx. 0.5 million.). This measure is not targeted at NEETs. Analyses and evaluation studies show that as part of the subsidized jobs employers select candidates with higheremployability, which results in a high creaming off effect. Targeting at candidates at risk is not high in the Czech Republic.

2.2.10 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to incentivise employers in your country.

Table 7 - Access to employment: Employer incentives

Access to employment: Employer incentives

Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Subsidized jobs within the active employment policy

unilateral

general measure

not specifically targeted, the group of potential participants very extensive

2.2.11 Please provide a more detailed description of the employer incentive which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

Efficiency of subsidized jobs in the Czech Republic is knotty. On one hand, after the subsidy terminates, only about 20% of participants return to the Labour Office registry. On the other hand, targeting of the measure is not high in the long term. Subsidized jobs are often allocated to candidates who would probably find a job by themselves. This is caused by insufficient targeting. The programme can be joined by candidates categorized in some of the endangered groups. However, almost 75% of all the job candidates registered by Labour Office fall in these groups. NEETs, especially the tertiary educated, counts among the relatively better employable candidates in the Czech Republic.

Subsidized jobs represent a traditional tool utilised in the long time. In 2010 subsidies paid for jobs amounted to CZK 1.5k million (approx. EUR 60,000,000), which is approx. one fourth of all the expenditures in the active employment policy.

3. Conclusion

The number of pupils who leave the education process early is relatively low in the Czech Republic. The most important reason we may consider in this respect is the social system of cultural values. Education is highly valued in the Czech Republic. It has been affected both by the historical development and by a continuous, wide-ranging discussion about the labour market situation and wages achieved at different levels of education. A positive impact (reduced number of NEETs) has been brought by cancellation of unemployment benefit for most school leavers.

ESF projects work in two directions. Primarily, it is an active employment policy the purpose of which also includes an increase in employment and employability of young people and school leavers and graduates in the labour market. Young people and school leavers and graduates represent one of the groups at risk who can be provided with a support. Partially, however, it is replacing the national active employment policy. The other direction is an attempt to enhancequality of the education system, in the early education as well as thelifelong learning. Unfortunately, ESF impact on the position of NEETs cannot be estimated, since in the long run NEETs do not represent a major problem.

We can consider reasonable for the future to apply a more precise focus and targeting of measures adopted on specific, difficult sub-categories of NEETs, i.e. especially young people from socially excluded Roma locations. This is a task for all the aforementioned key stakeholders.

Tomáš Soukup, Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs

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