These are the jobs in Czechia that are most at risk from AI

Experts have weighed in on which industries in Czechia are most threatened by the rise of automation – however, it isn't all bad news.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 13.05.2024 16:30:00 (updated on 13.05.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

With artificial intelligence (AI) becoming a growing part of the global workforce, more and more employees in Czechia are looking over their shoulders to see if their jobs are safe. Earlier this year, Labor Minister Marian Jurečka estimated that 300,000 job positions would disappear nationwide due to AI within just eight years. Czech media outlet iDnes contacted experts to see which job types are most at risk.

Production workers

According to the Czech branch of research think-tank the Aspen Institute, over 22,000 production workers in factories and plants will lose their jobs due to automation. However, leader of the KOVO trade union Roman Ďurčo has said he believes numbers will, in reality, be much lower. "Since the topic of Industry 4.0 began to penetrate discussions, people have several forecasts – many of which have been fulfilled either only partially or not at all,” he told iDnes.

Cashiers

Analysts say that one-tenth of all positions behind shop tills (and similar roles) will vanish in the next eight years. Indeed, there is already a clear trend of supermarkets replacing workers with self-service cash registers. Coop Jednota, for example, has taken a much larger step – the franchise has 40 fully automated stores across the country, with just a handful of supervising employees. Experts say that other companies are likely to follow suit.

Travel agents

According to economists, travel agency workers are at high risk of having their jobs eliminated or fundamentally changed by AI. The rise of online holiday bookings has led to a decrease in the use of brick-and-mortar branches, as confirmed by representatives of travel agencies. One expert also said last year that AI threatens up to one-third of all jobs in the Czech tourism industry.

However, according to the vice chairman of the Czech Association of Travel Agencies Jan Papež, 90 percent of consumers still prefer to call and speak with a real person due to potential inquiries about trip options in the area or recommendations for restaurants, despite numerous automated options. 

Call center operators

Call centers and customer service lines are also preparing for AI-driven transformation. The rise of voicebots and chatbots to handle calls will only continue, according to head of the Czech Direct Marketing Association Tomáš Hájek. Although he admits there are limitations to what the bots can currently handle, their capabilities will likely expand in a few years. However, a survey from the Czech branch of research institute Capgemini found that most consumers preferred human operators to automated voices.

Are you worried that AI may take over your job in the next 10 years?

Yes 35 %
No 65 %
347 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

A reason for fear or calm?

A 2023 study by Charles University and research firm Ipsos found that about one-third of people in Czechia believed that AI would impact their jobs within five years, with software engineers, graphic designers, and journalists expecting the greatest effects. Over half of under-34-year-olds also expect AI to affect their jobs in the near future.

On the flipside, a survey last year by the Czech branch of the human resources management company Randstad found that the majority of companies were not worried about AI’s influence on job roles.

Of all the firms surveyed, 90 percent believed that AI would replace certain jobs while simultaneously creating new ones, resulting in no noteworthy difference in staff numbers. Only 8 percent of respondents anticipate “significant layoffs” due to implementation.

How employers and employees will deal with AI

International staffing firm ManpowerGroup told Expats.cz that AI would change Czechia’s labor landscape by creating new, different specialized jobs – with a particular focus on AI experts and those who are highly familiar with the technology. 

“The rapid growth in demand for AI professionals, from data scientists to machine learning engineers, has far outstripped the supply of qualified individuals,” said ManpowerGroup.

According to ManpowerGroup, the gap in demand and supply for advanced analytics and AI roles can be as high as 30-35 percent. This only emphasizes the need to upskill and reskill the workforce at scale and speed, the global agency told Expats.cz. In the long term, businesses will need to strengthen their learning and development ecosystem, which involves partnering with third-party platforms to offer employees a range of courses on the technology.

A drive for retraining

Many people will have to retrain to cope with the upcoming shifts in Czechia’s job market. According to Jurečka, while AI will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, it will also create 520,000 new positions by 2030. To prepare for this, the Labor Ministry plans to train 130,000 people in digital technologies within the next year and a half. The government has allocated CZK 5 billion for this initiative.

However, Ďurčo warns that this effort may not be enough. He points out that the Czech Republic lacks an education system that caters to the needs of the labor market and a consistent program for lifelong learning.

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