Salaries: end of the golden era

Looking for a new job because you consider yourself underpaid? Choosing a new employee and not sure how much to offer? Our exclusive salary survey will guide you through the jungle.

Iva Šubrtová
Petr Žídek
Olga Marušová
Renata Součková
Robert Sládek
Jiří Vacek

FINDING A NEW JOB in middle management is not as easy as it once was. Firms are making their selection procedures more strict and more comprehensive, and they are often paying less. Candidates don’t have as strong a negotiating position as they did before. It’s no wonder, considering that the number of available positions has not kept pace with the amount of suitable, high-quality candidates entering the employment market. So what can you expect when you decide to find a new job?
Several years ago it was enough just to be in the right place at the right time. Today the market demands are substantially greater. “The time of the revolution is over. Back then it was enough to have a university education and a little experience. Today the prerequisites are a high-quality university degree, experience and a willingness to educate yourself,” says Iva Šubrtová, senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Šubrtová adds that the applicant also has to be patient, because it is necessary to have at least five to six years experience before one can become a manager. According to personnel experts, people interested in managerial positions are a lot better prepared. “In most cases they purposefully target one position and are better equipped with skills to succeed in the selection process,” says Olga Marušová, head of the recruitment department at Česká spořitelna. According to Jiří Vacek, human resources director at Nestlé Česko, the once typical fast-track to the top could now be an obstacle, since such people don’t have the experience in the “lower ranks”, and in the future they could be rolled over by the coming generation. This generation has been largely educated since the Velvet Revolution, it has study and work experience abroad and, thanks to a slower rise to the top, it has deeper knowledge and experience. For now, insufficient managerial skills are its main weakness, and these skills are considered essential by many firms. “In most cases we are not looking for top experts to fill middle management positions, but a person with good managerial skills and a broad focus,” says Marušová. “For us, managerial skills are the key for middle management positions,” she adds.

Good things to those who wait
Most personnel managers confirm that only a few years ago, finding a job was not only easier, but also substantially quicker. According to Petr Žídek, senior consultant at Synergie Recruitment, filling a managerial position in two to three weeks was not rare. Today the selection process often takes two to three months, and most candidates are “browsing the market” while still working in their existing positions. According to Dita Závorová, sales and marketing division manager for Robert Half, being unemployed for three months is regarded differently now. The view of personnel managers towards changing jobs often has also changed. According to Žídek, in the mid-90’s it was usual for candidates oriented towards a career to change jobs every year or two. Today, this period has extended to approximately three years. Candidates who change positions more often are now considered to be fluctuants, which could negatively influence how they are regarded by prospective employers. But Renata Součková, consultant for Hill International, notes that frequent changes are usually tolerated in the case of recent graduates who are trying to “find themselves” in their early job search.

Change doesn’t improve salary
The development of the market can also be seen through the willingness of candidates to lower their salary expectations. Žídek has met candidates several times who have worked for CZK 120,000 per month and today, due to problems in finding adequate positions, are willing to work for half this amount. Součková feels that this is an understandable trend. “These people gained experience, devoted themselves to their job and worked overtime in previous jobs,” she explains. “Now they wish to enjoy work and life more and so are willing to work for less money.” Závorová agrees that many people working in middle or higher management are tired of the tempo of their life and are looking for a better balance between their work and their leisure time. Besides wages, benefits connected to the job also play a significant role when choosing. In the experience of Robert Sládek, consultant at World Experts, these benefits can make up for the significant wage difference between two offers for many management candidates. Some are willing to accept a position with lower salary with a more prestigious company. Besides factors like image or market position, the employees also value a personal approach of the top management and the feeling that the company values their work. “A personal thank-you from the company’s CEO or public acknowledgement are more important for many employees than a bonus of a few thousand crowns,” Sládek points out.
While in the beginning of the ’90s it was not unusual for the same position in two different firms to offer up to three times the difference in salary, today the differences are significantly smaller. Vacek claims that today salary differences in FMCG firms do not exceed 20% and are becoming more balanced in other sectors as well. However, companies and sectors still exist where salaries are out-of-line from the average. One such sector is the tobacco industry, where the reasons for overpayment are large profits and the fact that many candidates don’t want to work in these firms. “They tell us that they would not be able to identify themselves with the product,” Sládek explains.

Somebody’s in, somebody’s out
Market stabilization can be seen as well through the saturation of formerly sought-after fields of education. While today graduates from economics and the humanities find themselves in a more difficult situation than before, there is still a large demand for graduates of technology schools. The need has been more and more noticeable with the arrival of new production plants of foreign companies. Other factors reveal the advantages of a technological education. “A technician can become a manager, but it is difficult for a manager to become a technician,” says Vacek.
The desired qualifications also include specialists in quality control, production control, CRM, consumer services and call-center management. In contrast, IT specialists, that were much demanded before when there was a lack of such people, find themselves in a saturated field because of the dwindling technological boom. One of the few exceptions is the banking industry – a test case for the striking reduction of employees in many areas, except for IT specialists which banks need to suceed in the information age. Likewise, top IT consultants need not be afraid of finding a job since there are still some companies hiring headhunters to find them. Positions in corporate IT system administration have staved off saturation in this market.
Regardless of economic development, the smallest swings in demand are in positions that bring money to the company directly, above all salesmen. In contrast, the supportive and back office positions such as public relations, marketing or human resources are disfavored at the moment of economic problems and are the first to be scaled back. Those people who, in past years, took it for granted that it was possible to get a new position quickly, and even improve their salary significantly, will have to change their attitude. It is no longer advisable to begin looking for a new position after leaving an existing one. Massive overpayment and headhunting of middle managers are also matters of the past. “It is no longer a problem to find several qualified candidates for most positions – and employers are well aware of this,” Šubrtová says with a hint of warning.

Salary survey of middle management positionsMethodology and explanatory notes: Respondents to this survey (from personnel agencies and large employers) were given a description of each position and asked to fill in the salary, benefits and main prerequisites. A small company is here defined as having about 25 employees; a mid-sized firm has 70-100 employees; a large firm over 100 employees. The gross monthly salary stated here was calculated as an average of lower and upper range answers, rounded by thousands down.

Advertising manager
For larger companies that frequently organize extensive and expensive advertising campaigns. The advertising manager meets with advertising agencies, purchasers and media planners on the one hand and with the marketing department on the other. Budget management and coordinating sub-contractors is required. May work individually or controls a small team of subordinates.
Salary: CZK 40-60,000 within mid-size companies, in large CZK 62-77,000
Benefits: car in larger firms; financial bonuses according to the success of the campaigns; various supplementary insurance.
Main prerequisites: two to five years of previous experience; managerial skills; communication and organization skills; original approach to promotion.

PR manager
This position can be either very specialized (for example, in PR, relationships with clients and partners, internal or crisis communication, sponsorship activities, public affairs, etc.), or it can cover all these disciplines. In the case of a mid-sized company, the PR manager covers everything, he has no subordinates and his salary is about CZK 40-59,000. In the large firms, he controls a team of up to ten specialists, his title is PR or communications director and his salary is around CZK 76-105,000.
Benefits: car in larger firms and some type of supplementary insurance.
Main prerequisites: presentation and communication skills; excellent verbal skills, diplomacy; flexibility; resistance to stress and sudden changes; 2-5 years of previous experience. Managerial skills may be required.

Marketing manager/director
Covers all the company’s marketing activities, often in close cooperation with the sales manager (these two positions may be combined). Usually no subordinates in small companies, but may supervise the activities of many sub-contractors. In mid-sized and large companies, may manage a team of 10-12 employees. Main activities include marketing research and analysis, above the line and below the line advertising, product management, sales support, PR, sponsorship.
Salary: CZK 33-56,000 in small firms, CZK 57-128,000 in large firms
Benefits: financial benefits, car in large firms; various types of insurance; specialized training.
Main prerequisites: expertise and work experience (at least three to five years); presentation and communication skills (inside and outside the company); managerial skills; creativity.

Key account manager
Responsible for the sale of goods or services to key customers. Reports to the sales director and works independently without the necessity of managing subordinates. For example, in large FMCG companies, he takes care of three to five retail chains and works in a team of three to eight people. The name of this position is also used for capable sales representatives or sales managers in small and mid-sized firms who are responsible for doing business with the most important customers.
Salary: CZK 31-45,000 in small and mid-sized companies, CZK 53-72,000 in large firms
Benefits: business car, notebook, other benefits, most frequently financial, according to sales results (in smaller companies they can double the income, large companies tend to pay higher fixed salaries and lower bonuses); supplementary insurance in large firms.
Main prerequisites: Similar to the area sales manager, with an emphasis on communication skills.

Product manager
Handles marketing activities connected with entrusted brand or brands. Mainly works independently but sometimes manages several subordinates. Often coordinates the activities of sub-contractors (market research, advertising, PR and promotion agencies, media purchasers and planners, etc.). Responsible to the marketing manager or to the group product manager in large companies.
Salary: CZK 30-45,000 in small firms, CZK 50-78,000 in large firms
Benefits: financial benefits, car in large firms; various supplementary insurance; training.
Main prerequisites: previous experience (at least one to two years); presentation and communication skills; analytic skills; organizational skills; flexibility; creativity.

Sales manager/director
Controls all sales activities of the company. Responsible for planning, implementation and results of sales. In larger firms, usually manages teams of subordinates – possibly more than a hundred employees. In small companies, will usually have several colleagues on the same level. Responsible directly to the head of the company.
Salary: CZK 33-55,000 in small firms, CZK 62-150,000 in large firms
Benefits: business car, notebook, bonuses for sales results and managerial achievements; supplementary insurance in larger companies.
Main prerequisites: managerial and sales skills; professional presentation and communication; good organizational skills; flexibility; three to six years of previous experience.

Area sales manager
This position is usual in large manufacturing, FMCG and pharmaceutical companies. The manager is responsible for team management (usually 3-15 sales reps) and for the final sales results. Usually takes care of a region and/or defined group of target customers. Besides team management, participation in sales activities with major clients is expected.
Salary: CZK 37-61,000
Benefits: business car, notebook, other benefits are mostly financial, according to sales results; insurance.
Main prerequisites: sales/managerial skills; professional presentation; negotiating and persuasive abilities; communication; contacts in the field; 1-5 years of previous experience; willingness to travel.

Sales representative
Responsible for the sales of a certain product or service, in a region which may cover several districts, but also Bohemia or Moravia in their entirety. He offers and sells goods; may also issue invoices and accept payments. Sales representatives in pharmaceutical firms are in a special category because they must have specialized medical or pharmaceutical education.
Salary: CZK 17-32,000 at FMCG, CZK 26-46,000 at pharmaceuticals
Benefits: business car, sometimes notebooks; sales bonuses (often significant); option to purchase company goods at discount
Main prerequisites: experience; sales skills; communication and presentation skills; flexibility; fortitude

Financial manager
Responsible for all financial matters and management of the accounting department. Other duties include financial planning, controlling, budgeting, cashflow management, negotiations with the financial office and cooperation with tax advisors and auditors. This position may be combined with that of administration manager. In this case, responsibilities include the purchase of office equipment, management of the administrative team, etc.
Salary: CZK 50-78,000 in small and mid-sized companies, CZK 98-172,000 in large firms, according to the extent of the responsibilities
Benefits: business car, specialized trainings, various types of supplementary insurance, managerial bonuses.
Main prerequisites: specialized knowledge; previous work experience; managerial and interpersonal skills. International companies require knowledge of international accounting standards (IAS, US GAAP).

HR manager
Responsible for the entire extent of HR management, either alone or managing a team of 2-10 subordinates (in larger firms). Recruitment, compensations and benefits, career planning, creation of organizational structures, trainings, internal communications and payroll agenda are among the duties.
Salary: CZK 33-53,000 in small and mid-sized firms, CZK 62-116,000 in large firms
Benefits: notebook, car in large firms; managerial bonuses; various supplementary insurance; specialized training.
Main prerequisites: expert knowledge; at least three years of previous work experience; communication and managerial skills.

Chief accountant
Manages accounting team (unlike the senior accountant, who usually has no subordinates). Main responsibilities include overall accounting activities – i.e. monthly and annual balance sheets, control of accounting documents and, in some companies, also participating in financial planning, budgeting, reports to headquarters, and payroll supervision via an external accounting firm. The chief accountant is responsible to the financial manager or financial director and sometimes directly to the head of the company.
Salary: CZK 38-65,000
Benefits: specialized trainings; car possible.
Main prerequisites: expert knowledge; at least three to five years of previous experience in accounting; managerial skills if he manages a team; analytical abilities.

Sourcing/Purchasing manager
This position (also called purchaser-buyer in retail chains) is focused on either the purchase of goods from suppliers or ensuring the central purchase of goods, raw materials, and all other services that the company uses through sub-contractors. Declares tenders and negotiates with suppliers in order to get the best conditions. This position is utilized in retail chains, production companies and large companies with a central purchasing department.
Salary: staff purchaser CZK 31-46,000; chief purchaser or sourcing manager CZK 56-89,000
Benefits: cars for senior positions and/or in large companies; specialized training.
Main prerequisites: previous experience for senior positions; knowledge of languages in foreign companies or where cooperation with foreign suppliers is established; negotiation skills and analytic abilities for the comparison and calculation of bids; natural authority.

In-house lawyer
Responsible for all legal matters – supervises contract documentation, provides legal advice, ensures industrial/labor relations and participates in the creation of the firm’s legal methodology. Must also monitor changes in Czech legislation that could affect the company’s activities and then incorporate them into the documentation and processes of the company. Close contact is required with the external law firm, which has experts available for specialized legal areas.
Salary: CZK 33-58,000 at small and mid-sized firms, and CZK 60-108,000 at large multinational firms.
Benefits: notebook, financial benefits, car in large, companies, training
Main prerequisites: expertise; previous experience; communication skills; strong personality.

Office manager
Responsible for the management of the office or of the entrusted department. Duties include ordering office equipment, ensuring office operations, assisting other employees, project management, etc. In many cases, this position also covers the duties of the personal assistant to the director or other senior mana-gers and some simple accounting. The office manager is usually responsible for assistants, receptionists and students working on a temporary basis.
Salary: CZK 23-38,000
Benefits: financial benefits, trainings.
Main prerequisites: organizational and communication skills; responsible and precise; knowledge of at least one foreign language is typically required.

IT manager
Covers the operation and development of the company’s IT and telecom systems. In small companies this position is often called IT manager, and is a one-man team. In large international firms, this position is subordinate to the IT director or to the CIO (chief information officer). Usually responsible for leading a team of people; often a member of the top management, responsible for communication with suppliers of ICT technologies, budgeting, etc. It is the key position in non-technological companies (FMCG, production, finance) where the internal IT department is also responsible for user support.
Salary: CZK 40-53,000 in small firms, CZK 80-140,000 in large firms
Benefits: notebook, car in large firms; mana- gerial bonuses; supplementary insurance; specialized training.
Main prerequisites: expert knowledge; previous work experience on lower IT positions; managerial skills; flexibility; the ability to quickly resolve sudden technological problems.

Financial benefitsYou can get more money if the employer contributes to your supplementary pension insurance or life insurance. You cannot touch the money immediately, but it does force force you to save for a pension that will be beneficial in the future. You can also ask for an interest-free loan or
a loan with lower interest than a bank would ask.
Taxes: No taxes on state-supported supplementary pension insurance up to 5% of your social security tax base, and on life insurance up to CZK 12,000. No taxes on interest-free loans either, unless they exceed CZK 20,000 for a loan the law determines as “for getting through a difficult financial situation” or CZK 100,000 for housing needs.

Cars and phonesCompany cars are the most visible “perks” and are more common here than in other countries. For the firm, it is less expensive to pay for leasing or buy the car than to add enough to a salary for employees to buy a car themselves. However, with regard to the strained economic situation, the firms have started to look at the price/value ratio and are buying more Škodas. These days, a company mobile phone is not usually considered to be an above-standard benefit, but rather a job-related tool.
Taxes: If an employee is allowed to use the car for private purposes, 1% of the purchase price of the car, including VAT, is added to the gross monthly tax base. Job-related tools such as mobile phones and notebooks do not influence the tax base, unless the employer also pays for private calls.

Other benefitsMany employers offer various other benefits such as educational courses, contributions to vacations, permanent passes to fitness centers or squash clubs, membership in golf clubs, or meals in the company cafeteria. Some employers even offer the employees accommodation in company apartments free-of-charge or the possibility to purchase company goods for lower prices.
Taxes: Non-monetary contributions from your employer (from the Social and Cultural Needs Fund or from profit after taxes) are tax-free for employees without a limit. The only limit is set for holidays abroad, at CZK 10,000, including family members. Taxes must also be paid on free or discounted goods or services (including subsidized housing). The taxable income is the difference between the price that you pay and the market value.






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