While the Czech Republic continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, the covid pandemic has certainly impacted the number of jobs available.
The Czech unemployment rate is at the highest it’s been in the last few years, around 4%.
What the figures don’t show is the number of people who are technically still employed yet on significantly reduced hours or pay due to most restaurants surviving on takeaway orders and most shops still closed.
Particularly in Prague, the 73% drop off in tourism over the last year has exacerbated the issues workers and employers are facing and it’s no surprise employers in other sectors are cautious about hiring.
Bucking the trend is Karlin-based recruitment agency NonStop Consulting.
At the start of this pandemic, NonStop leaders made a no redundancies commitment to employees. Not only did they manage it but they’ve been consistently hiring here in Prague and currently have another 50 open vacancies for expats and Czechs to join the team.
We sat down with the newly appointed CEO of NonStop, Ben Jones, to discuss how this company continues to thrive and see what he thinks about the post-covid future of employment.
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Ben, can you tell us first what NonStop is all about?
NonStop was founded in the City of London in 2000 and now has several offices across Europe, including Prague, which is our biggest office with over 150 people. We recruit predominantly within the life sciences industry but also in the health and social care, IT and digital, and automotive and engineering sectors, and more.
Above all that, we’re a company that really wants to help people achieve their potential. It’s one of our founder Kevin Smith’s core principles and one of mine too and the reason we’re generally always looking for people to join our team. There is a lot of potential in a career in recruitment whether it be financial, career progression, or simply learning.
It sounds crazy to be hiring so much when other companies are making redundancies. How do you manage it?
We’re a very entrepreneurial and highly flexible business so if one of our core lines becomes unprofitable, we can quickly switch to support other sectors. That being said, clients within our main areas of focus have continued to need our assistance to help them find employees. Some of our other sectors, such as Czech automotive, did experience a downturn but our Czech team was able to switch their focus to healthcare and support hospitals and other facilities on the front line of the fight against covid.
What does a job at NonStop look like?
If we’re talking about the entry-level recruiter roles, which is the bulk of positions we have within NonStop, it comes with a lot of training. At all levels of seniority, there is specific training designed to help people do their job exceptionally well and to progress as fast as possible. On average people achieve their first promotion within two months and get to the management level within 18 months. Myself, I started as an entry-level recruiter seven years ago. All the current directors did too.
The beauty of a role like this is that there really are no barriers to entry except mindset. By that I mean you don’t need a degree or any particular experience, but you do need a certain attitude. A common misconception is that recruitment is HR but actually, the way we do recruitment is more related to sales and that means you need a good deal of resilience because ultimately, while we do pay a basic salary, the real earning potential here is based on the amount of money you bring into the business. For those with the right mindset, it’s easy to be earning 80,000, 90,000, 100,000+ euros a year.
How do you see the state of employment in Prague coming out of this pandemic?
We’re already starting to see our Czech-based clients increase hiring which I think is an encouraging sign of things to come. Prague is an attractive city and I think once the pandemic allows more travel we’ll see more people return and businesses increase hiring to support that influx. There’s a lot of international businesses here too that will always need employees.