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Manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products

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NACE 2002 - 27 Manufacture of basic metals

The manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products consists of two main groups of activity – metallurgy (ferrous and non-ferrous) and the casting of metals. The industry as a whole is geographically concentrated. This applies particularly to ferrous metallurgy (Moravia-Silesia region). Until recently the development in the industry had been influenced by a robust demand on the part of the car industry, mechanical engineering and construction. Employers  therefore faced difficulties related to insufficient generational replacement of human resources. There has been a slump in interest in studying the relevant disciplines, and even in the ongoing period of economic crisis occupations such as casters and founders remain to be in short supply.

The problem of low numbers of new graduates is likely to worsen still in the future. On the other hand, employment in the industry will score a major decrease in the long term, by up to 27% in the 2008-2020 period. The age structure has not yet deteriorated too much and the proportion of workers younger than 30 is still around 15%, but the average age is likely to increase dramatically in the following years. 

The products of metallurgy and metal casting are supplied, above all, to customers concerned with the manufacture of metal structures, construction, mechanical engineering and the car industry – i.e. industries that, in terms of the proportion in GDP in the entire Czech economy, will decline - and not only as a consequence of the economic crisis. Moreover, the manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products tends to be linked to those components of the value chain that show a higher level of investment intensity and an a lower level of skills complexity. These industries will gradually decrease in importance in the Central European economy, which will eventually result in a decreased demand for workers in the manufacture of metals and metal products. Metallurgy and the casting of metal will tackle growing demands for environmentally safe operations. This will require significant investment and, consequently, some companies will see this as a stimulus to move their operations to countries where such restrictions are not in place.

As viewed from this perspective, the worsening education structure in the industry may pose a problem. The proportion of workers with tertiary qualifications dropped to 5% in 2008, which is not a good starting point for the development of technologies and innovation in the upcoming years. The most important factor that will affect demand for the workforce in metallurgy and metal casting is investment in reconstruction and modernisation of the manufacturing facilities and in activities related to decommissioning older and unsuitable facilities. 

In terms of employment opportunities, people with basic qualifications will be more at risk. There are still 8% of them in the industry. Employment opportunities for workers with more advanced qualifications (particularly upper secondary and tertiary) and recent graduates will not deteriorate too much. There will be such a decline in interest in studying programmes in metallurgy and metal casting and in employment in these fields that it will be very difficult for companies to fill vacated jobs.

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