Everything from scratch. How specialists from Ukraine start working in the Czech Republic.
In the current situation, many Ukrainians have been forced to leave the country and start their journey in European countries, including the Czech Republic. Today, many who are just planning to move are concerned about how to find work in the Czech Republic, how to adapt to the new place, and how professionals from Ukraine who moved to the Czech Republic before and after the war feel.
We interviewed several people from very different professions about how they work here and what differences in work processes they have experienced on their own. In the course of the survey, we encountered different situations and heard many stories, both positive and negative. Responses from the professionals who gave us their permission to publish are given in this article.
In Ukraine, I used to work in a commercial structure, while in the Czech Republic I worked in a state archive. It's hard to compare because at home I worked as deputy director. We sold equipment and scanned large volumes of documents on demand, and my involvement was administrative. Here, on the other hand, I work with my hands, photographing documents, for example. In other words, I work as the operator I used to manage before. So it is almost impossible to compare directly, at the same time I am very familiar with this job because in Ukraine I used to check all the procedures myself at first. Without language skills and experience in the Czech Republic, I wasn't even planning to take a managerial position as I had in Ukraine.
So it took me no more than an hour to adapt to the situation - I prepared my workplace the way I was used to and that was it:)
As it is a manual job, the most important thing for me is to understand the terms of reference: resolution, file format, etc., and these are technical terms, all in English. As for the team, I am surrounded by lovely, kind, and helpful people who help me a lot in adapting. For example, to buy a bus ticket, to make an appointment for my son to see a doctor, etc. In my free time, I volunteer as much as I can to help Ukrainians in the Czech Republic, and all my colleagues joined the process, which is very encouraging.
Now I can say that Ukrainian archives work according to international standards, the workflow is very similar, with a few differences. My Ukrainian company imported Czech special acid-free cardboard and boxes made of it, so I was very familiar with the materials and equipment I saw at my workplace. As the difference in positions is enormous, a comparison of salaries would not be entirely correct.
All I can say is that I work officially in a state institution, so I have all the advantages: insurance, holidays, sick leave, normal working hours, and decent working conditions. Thanks to my higher education diploma and long-term work in my profession in Ukraine, I received a salary increase according to the official methodology of salary calculation.
I interestingly got this job. I was interviewed on the radio Český rozhlas Plus radio station in English. I told my story from the beginning of the war, and who and where I worked. And the director of the archive heard the report and offered me a job. That's how the archive fraternity works. I am very grateful to him for this wonderful opportunity to work, be useful and apply my knowledge and experience in today's environment.
I am a doctoral candidate and a chemist. I have been working at the Institute of Chemical Processes in Prague since 2020. I saw an advertisement on the Facebook page of the institute that a person with my specialty was needed for a project, sent my CV, had two interviews and I was hired. The main difficulty was getting a work visa at the embassy of the Czech Republic in Ukraine, and in total it took about two months.
I wanted to go together with my family, daughter, and husband, but unfortunately, we were rejected, so I had to go myself first, and then, six months later, they were able to come for family reunification.
I worked in Ukraine for 12 years as an associate professor. Comparing a Ukrainian university and a Czech institute, I can say that the main difference is the attitude towards people.
As I see people of all ages, genders, and qualifications are treated with respect and, accordingly, there are more prospects for academic growth. Communication at work and all interviews are in English only, which is why I didn't experience any language barrier. The atmosphere in our Ukrainian universities and research institutes is a kind of hierarchy that is not built in favor of young scientists. It is different here.
The difference in salaries is great and bonuses also have a big impact. For example, the necessary child expenses and extra-curricular teaching assignments are paid for by the employer. Also, the tax paid on a child is refundable at the end of the year.
But I would like to point out that the salaries in Ukraine were also decent, the difference stems solely from the specifics of the wage scale in the Czech Republic.
My experience in the Czech Republic so far is positive and all the difficulties I had during my employment are fully justified afterward.
I have been working as a professional seamstress for many years. Nowadays in the Czech Republic, I work in a sewing workshop the same way as I did in Ukraine. Fortunately, the work processes in my profession are not very different. My working day here is the same eight hours, and the list of responsibilities is no different from what I had in Ukraine.
I have not encountered any difficulties in finding a job - sewing and repairing are regularly required here. I did not have much of a language barrier either. It helped me to quickly adapt when I moved to the Czech Republic after the war.
The most important thing I could single out was conscientiousness and good relations in the team. I have not encountered any prejudices or communication difficulties, everyone is very cohesive and helps each other when necessary. As for salary levels, there is virtually no difference in our field.
Brand Marketing Manager
I moved to Prague in autumn 2021 because of a job offer. As my employers are not originally from the Czech Republic and there are many people from different countries in the team, the team is international and it would be difficult to make a comparison with a Czech company.
I have experienced a completely different approach to work in the Czech Republic. The working day in Prague starts at 7-8 a.m. At that time, the city is in full swing and most people go to work. You finish work usually by 17:00 and after this time you are unlikely to get an answer to your email or the service you need if it has not been agreed upon beforehand. The Czechs are big supporters of life-work balance and can teach you a lesson in this.
I adjust to this schedule and have more time for my interests, sports and meeting friends, and my personal life.
In Ukraine, I used to arrive at the office at 10 or 11 a.m. and finish work at 8 p.m., so my days were gone and my life only started on Saturday. Working in the Prague office has completely changed my schedule and my attitude to life in general.
The transport system in the Czech Republic is also of high quality, enabling to commute to work from any part of the city in no more than 20-30 minutes.
The Czech legal system is very appreciative of employees regardless of their nationality. The social package offered to employees here is a very valuable bonus to their salary.
Most companies in the Czech Republic, in addition to insurance and five weeks' holiday, also offer the MultiSport card, which allows free use of gyms, swimming pools, sports centers, bicycle rentals, etc.This is a basic benefit here, not an exclusive one.
It is not correct to compare Czech salaries with Ukrainian, because everything depends on the position of the specialist and company, and also on the type of visa for foreign specialists. What can be said for sure, taxes here are considerably higher, but you can observe for yourself that they go 100% the right way.
Of course, all comparisons are subjective and situations depend on the professional and his or her approach to the job search. There is no answer to the question of how to find a job quickly. Some people manage to find a job in a couple of weeks and others take several months.
Employment in the Czech Republic can take 2-3 months. Office workers often have to go through many interviews, approvals, and tests. At the same time, service sector jobs close much faster because there is a need for them "here and now". In the restaurant business, the cosmetics industry, or in manufacturing, vacancies tend to close within 1-2 weeks, but this turnover often has an impact on working conditions, or even on the format of employment of employees, which is worth remembering.
Newly arrived professionals repeatedly encounter unofficial employment, unpaid wages, and other problems. Such situations are possible when people are looking for a quick income today without checking their documents before they start work and agree to work "in the black" for a while. To avoid such situations we strongly recommend adhering to the following rules:
Check your employer in public sources, verify their registration and right to work in the Czech Republic;
Check the references of the company and use several sources for comparison;
Check all documents, agreements, and contracts that you sign yourself and with lawyers;
Do not take on temporary "black ops";
Check all the details of your pay, social security and benefits in advance, even if you do not plan to be in the job for long.
For information on how to look for a job in the Czech Republic and useful sources of information on life after the move, see our previous article by the link. And don't forget to subscribe to our Telegram channel with hot jobs: https://t.me/talentgrator
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