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Conditions for training of employees
11

Conditions for training of employees

Conditions for training of employees

(OP)
Our company is going to send two of our young engineers on training courses. Price of these trainings is quite high for us (let say comparable with their salary for a half year), but we are ready to spend these money for improving qualification of these guys and also to show them that we appreciate their work and value them for our future.
The problem is that they could leave the company after training (well, probably they will do it some day anyway, but please, not tomorrow smile) and our investment will be wasted.

My question is: What is the typical practice for such cases in your company? If your personnel is required to sign some contract to work for the company at least fixed time after the training, or some other way of compensation? Whose property are received certificates - of the personal or of the company?

If possible please indicate from which country or region is your experience - US/Canada, West Europe, East Europe, Asia, etc. Reason is that the mentality in different area is also different and not every advice is applicable in every country. Our company is in East Europe.
www.triel.bg

------------------------
It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

RE: Conditions for training of employees

My experience in Western Europe, and Australia, is that the training and certificate belongs to the trainee, and if you are foolish enough not to recognise the increased value of a trained employee then that is your problem.

Cheers

Greg Locock

SIG:Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

What kind of training costs half a year's salary?  Makes one believe you are either paying your employees too little or your trainer too much.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

4
Greg, I believe the OP recognizes the benefit to training employees, and that doesn't really appear to be in question.  I can certainly sympathize with him, as spending any appreciable amount of money on something only to watch it walk out the door the following day is a kick in the pants.

lz, you may want to be a little more specific on the training costs we're talking about here... half a year's salary for a $20k/year employee is vastly different than one who's paid $100k/year.  Your own conscience will have to be the guide here as it's not set in stone, but I imagine a contract would be a prudent measure.  My experience is coming from the US, and it is pretty typical for corporations to pay for relocation expenses for engineers.  Should they leave before a set time is up (often a year), the engineer is required to pay back the cost of the relocation (the nicer companies will prorate it).  Years back I watched an officemate squirm considerably as it was requested he pay his relocation expenses back... he was leaving about two weeks short of a full year to start a PhD, so he really couldn't stick it out for another few weeks.

But don't make the contract all bad.  If the employee is willing to stay for 3 years, he will receive a guaranteed pay increase of 'X%' every year, with a bonus at the end of the three years.  If he leaves before then, he has to pay the training costs back, prorated.  Figure out how long a trained employee would take to recoup the cost of that training, add 20% in time, and make that the contract length.  Regardless of when the employee leaves, you know you'll be recouping the cost either in prorated fee returns or higher efficiency.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Conditions for training of employees

I'm with Greg on this one.  Extra things, like training, are simply part of the overall compensation package given to an employee.  It's something that is a benefit for both employee and employer and is a win win either way.

As I tell all the younger engineers, there are more important things in this world than just money so don't let that be the only factor in making decisions.

Things like training, tuition, and professional association dues, are all important benefits that help everyone involved.  Putting strings on them will discourage people from using them and the employee will either leave to a better company or stay and eventually you will have people who are falling behind on current issues.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

The other side of the argument is that I guess you are paying the training of these engineers because YOU need them to have the knowledge/qualification.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

At one company I worked for, they wanted to send me to PRO/E training somewhere.  The cost of the trip and training was going to be several thousand dollars.  Before sending me, they wanted me to sign a contract that stated if I left within two years of completing the training, I would have to pay back a pro-rated portion (pro-rated over the two years).  I had already decided I was leaving before that two years was up, so I declined to sign and they sent someone else instead.

I've heard of similar arrangements elsewhere.  I've also seen this type of arrangement when a company agrees to pay for a degree program.  It seems fair to me - the company is helping the employee, the employee is gaining knowledge/skills which in turn help the company.  If the employee would rather opt out, that's his option.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Pat,

Thats the type of deal that many expats have to sign before they transfer overseas.

lz,

I can see where you are coming from. It would be pretty low of the employees to leave immediately after you have given them this training, but it could happen. It depends how poorly you are paying them.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

For most training courses lasting up to 5 days, like CAD training, there shouldn't be any requirement stated. The employee will come back and be more productive immediately, so the payback is very short for the company.

One place I worked sent 1 engineer to school for a year to get their masters degree. In this case, the company did make them sign a 2 year stay contract after the degree was awarded.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Conditions for training of employees

I agree with Greg...  

Also one other thought - the extra training should decrease the overall liability of the firm, possibly resulting in lower insurance premiums.

Mike McCann
McCann Engineering

RE: Conditions for training of employees

(OP)
GregLocock, TheTick, I intentionally pointed out that there are region-specific aspects in this question. As macgyvers2000  wrote, 10 000 USD for two-week training have different value when good salary in your country is 20000 USD and when is 100000 USD.

I really value these guys and don't like to take some steps to force them to stay in the company (other story is that actually  by law they can leave any time with one month  notification). I don't pay them less than my competitors and work in our company is more interesting than in competitors). But when say competitors I mean companies on our level. We cannot compete in benefits with big guys like ABB or Siemens !

I myself have been on many trainings from my previous company and never have been asked to take any obligations. In my last year with them I stay on salary lower than average for the country just to complete one project - otherwise they would fail to energize the station. For me it was a matter of loyality (and it was paid by their refusal to pay me my last salary, but it is another story sad !). But I am sure I cannot expect loyality from everybody. Young people start building their lifes now and they have more spendings even than me. I wouldn't blame them for leaving me (we even have talked about that with them), I just wonder how to ensure that in some moment some my project will not be left in the mud because somebody offered the guy 20% more.

The training in question is two-weeks course on SCADA systems. We are going to expand our commissioning activities  in that field, in addition to relay protections testing. We have no real SCADA project at the moment, so this training is some kind of investement for the future. Therefore it is very important for me, but I cannot expect immediate return.

Re-reading all posts above and re-thinking over my own experience I am going to accept that some kind of gentleman agreement will be the best solution in this particular case.
I myself wouldn't feel comfortably if asked to singn some tigth contract and my loyality for the company probably will be shaken. With or withot contract I try to pay the best possible for me salaries for our market (definitely it is not California here!) and to keep friendly relations with my emploees. And will hope for the best!

Well, we also have a nice proverb here: There is no good deed left unpunished !

------------------------
It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Msquared48,

but what you say only applies if the employee stays with the firm, otherwise it is wasted money that another firm will benefit from,  which is the crux of the issue.

I find the level of training in my industry to be very poor compared to my wifes (non technical) industry. I believe a large part of it is this fear of spending money on training employees only to have them join the competition.

So you are saying that the employee should reap all the benefits and the employer should pay all the costs (fees, lost time, and increased salary) sounds like a sure way to discourage employer paid training to me.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

On this, CSD72, we are in complete agreement.  Star for you.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

You cannot lock them into the job by way of contract, but you can make sure you get you recover any lost monies should they decide to leave... I would consider that prudent business sense, and THAT is what you need to consider at this point, not potentially crushed egos.  Having the employees sign a contract such as what I mentioned above doesn't overstep your legal authority (they can still give one month's notice and leave), but it says if you leave, you will be responsible for anything I give you over and above your typical pay rate.  Now, that "extra" may also be a help to your company in the long run if they stay, but it directly increases their marketability at your immediate expense... therefore, you should be able to recoup those expenses if they do not stay around long enough to implement any new training at your facility.

Making this a "gentleman's agreement" is bad business sense, and any decent employee will realize the trade-off being made, both for you and them.  If they don't sign, you can conclude they don't feel their near-immediate futures lie with your company... they may stay another year or two, but if they don't, you haven't wasted company resources on training them.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Conditions for training of employees

If you have a record of keeping promises, your employees will be more likely to keep faith with you.  The reverse is also true.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

I, for one, would never agree to pay back "half a year's salary" if I left the company in exchange for a two week training seminar.  I think it's a mistake to even ask.

Paying for my masters degree?  Then maybe we can talk about me signing something.

-b

RE: Conditions for training of employees

(OP)
Thank you everybody for your suggestions. We with my partner will consider them to decide finally how to proceed .

Special thanks, macgyvers2000 for  detailed comments - most of them are in-line with my understanding of the problem. I would like to be able to discuss them with you with couple of beers in front of us, but FL is too far winky smile from here !

I understand that for most of you from my first post I am looking like some fat capitalist  exploiter of his poor employees (smile), but the reality is different: we are making our money on the East and training is on the West. That's why it costs relatively so much. It is better to do things the opposite way, but ...

www.triel.bg

------------------------
It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

RE: Conditions for training of employees

lz5pl,

You are definately not exploiting your employees by seeking a return on your investment, in fact I wouldnt understand why you would spend the money on training otherwise.

I think some of the posters have no idea what it is like to have to put your own money on the line for things like this.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Our company handbook spells out that if an employee leaves within a year of the "investment" that the employee is required to pay it back.  My understanding is that as long as this is clearly spelled out in a handbook prior to the training, it should be legal.  The employer is making the investment, and it is not wrong for them to want to see a return on this.  

The danger you have is that if you currently dont have a policy like this in place, it may be difficult for you to start a new one before the training, and the added danger that the employees think you dont trust them, if you made the policy before they took the training.  Assuming the training is an added value for both them and the firm, I would have a discussion with them about the costs, and how you are making an investment in them, and how you value them as an employee, so that they wont think about leaving.  

RE: Conditions for training of employees

(OP)
I would have a discussion with them about the costs, and how you are making an investment in them, and how you value them as an employee, so that they wont think about leaving.  
==================
strguy11, that's exactly what we did last week with them. They asked for few days to think before to accept or not the proposal.
We are small company and haven't so elaborated company policy documents. Also the situation in our country is such, that if somebody leaves in violation of his contract, maximum we can do is to stop his last salary. If we go in the court, it will take a couple of years, and probably will costs a lot of nerves.

------------------------
It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Hi lz5pl,

As everybody here is saying, best economic way is to contract your employees with obligations they need to fulfil after they finished some course.
Best management way is to make an agreement with them and try to involve them as much as you can in projects they're working on. Make them feel important and let them feel they're doing important stuff. I think that is not a problem for you, because you sound like they really do :)
Anyway, that’s what I would do..


Because that is exactly the opposite of what I'm experiencing :P
I get the courses and all but I know I can earn more (although I’m not doing bad now) but I’m staying where I am because I’m still learning.
I’m not very appreciated here, no one is really, except the boss who already has more cash than he deserves, and the ones crawling up some dark area all the time..

Anyway, what I’m trying to tell is that you should make them want to stay. And that, when they got a job offered, they feel they miss a great opportunity if they took it.

Greets ZillionM

RE: Conditions for training of employees

A company pays employees for the work they do.  If they are trained, they can do the work better.  If you train them and they quit... too bad, the cost of doing business.

Did you reimburse them for the training and education they brought to your company when they hired on?  No?  Did they make you sign a contract that said, "I will bring my education ad training to your company but you must agree to keep me employed for 1 year"?

Then why make them pay (in possible lost oportunities and probably fixed salary) for training your company requires?

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Quote (GTstartup):

A company pays employees for the work they do.  If they are trained, they can do the work better.  If you train them and they quit... too bad, the cost of doing business.
You might change your tune if every employee who worked for you milked your pocketbook of everything they could for training and education (T&E) and left for another company.  If that happens enough times, your business folds.  I do NOT consider that "the cost of doing business".

Quote:

Did you reimburse them for the training and education they brought to your company when they hired on?
Yes, you do... when you hire them for a specific salary you are placing a value upon their pre-existing T&E.  Some companies value it more than others.  No one has a God-given right to walk into a company and say "pay me"... employees offer their T&E for a salary range.  If they increase their T&E on their own means, they can command a higher salary in the free market.  If they increase their T&E through the business' means, the business is due an increase in their "salary".

Quote:

Did they make you sign a contract that said, "I will bring my education ad training to your company but you must agree to keep me employed for 1 year"?
Of course not, their T&E was implicitly implied by them applying for the job with specific requirements.  You offered them a higher salary than someone with less T&E.

Quote:

Then why make them pay (in possible lost oportunities and probably fixed salary) for training your company requires?
They're not being made to pay, they're being offered a choice.  If the employees wish to spend their own time and money getting the specified T&E, they would expect a larger salary, even if they move to another company.  On the flip side, if the company pays for it, the company should expect to receive a larger "salary" in the form of increased efficiency (more clients, etc.), a salary that is denied them permanently if the employee leaves.  the only fair way to even out that playing field is to form a tighter bond between employee payback and employer payback in the form of a contract.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Conditions for training of employees

I agree that a company makes a pay offer based on previously obtained training and experience.  What it doesn't do is contract with it's new hires a defined length of guaranteed employment (exceptions exist, I know).

A worker spends 10's of thousands of dollars obtaining an education.  When he hires on to a company, he may turn down many other oportunities.

When the worker starts he has not received a dime yet in compensation for his training, nor none is guaranteed. Only after a period of time does he receive some extra compensation for his training and education in the form of a weekly paycheck.  However, he runs the risk of getting let go after a week.  Normally that's his loss - his cost of doing business, so to speak.

In the same way an employer takes a risk when increasing the employees training.  It's two sides of the same coin.

And yes, it's the cost of doing business for the company too.

First time my company sends me to training and makes me guarantee to pay it back if I quit it's adios for me.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

To elaborate a little.

Let's say the OPs company hires an engineer and this engineer already has taken this SCADA course at his own expense.  Lets assume that this engineer will most likely get a better compensation package than if he did not have this training (unlikely).

In taking this job offer how much is the engineer guaranteed?...Zero.  He could be laid off the next day.  Any other options he may have had may have evaporated.  When he hired on he took this risk.

Training employees also entails risk.  How you mitigate this risk is by fostering a place where people want to work, not by contracts.  Who wants an employee that is only there serving out his time so he can quit without having to write a check?

I do sympathize with small business owners and I do understand that this situation could put a company out of business.  But we are not talking about a Master's Degree here.  We are talking about a two week course.

RE: Conditions for training of employees


I had similiar contractual obligations on my first job in company based in Eastern Europe.

I received some training at the begining of my employment, but I had to sign that I would stay in company for next 3 years or pay roughly 1 year salary.

I considered then, as I consider now, this as very bad and unfair practice, because main objective was not to save company money but to prevent people from moving to better payed jobs.

You said that not every advice is applicable on this region due to specific mentality. I would say that main difference is not in mentality, but in choice. Engineers in Western Europe/USA have much more opportunities for work and would never accept such terms.

I don't know if all this is applicable on your business and I don't want to imply that you treat your employees unfairly. But, if you want to have healthy and respetable company, then you should start to work on mutual respect and trust. It's a much better way.


RE: Conditions for training of employees

Quote (39minuteman):

...because main objective was not to save company money but to prevent people from moving to better payed jobs.
And how did you come to this conclusion?  Did you speak with the person who put the requirement in place?  Did you question the practice to upper management?

The most likely answer is 'no', as I doubt either the rule writer nor management would ever make such a claim.  I have no doubt it turned out to be a definite side benefit, but no one starts such a rule with that in mind.  Employees can see right through that ruse and will leave.

Everyone keeps saying such a contract prevents them from accepting a better paying job, but it does no such thing.  You are 100% free to accept a higher paying job at any time, but in doing so you must reimburse the company their cost in training you.  This would be no different than you paying for the T&E in the first place.  If anything, it benefits you.  Someone else foots the bill for the training, and you have a paying job in the meantime.  If a year goes by and nothing better has appeared, well, you still have the T&E and you still have a paying job... if they laid you off, you now have the T&E free of charge.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Conditions for training of employees

The one thing that is very obvious from this thread is the big difference in attitude between those who pick up a monthly pay cheque and those of us who write them out.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Quote:

And how did you come to this conclusion?  Did you speak with the person who put the requirement in place?  Did you question the practice to upper management?

This is based on fact that this company had several offices across the Europe, but only office in Eastern Europe had such “unique” terms. Further, this “training” lasted only week or two, it was held by company engineers (not by expensive 3rd party expert) and it was more an introduction lecture about company procedures then training in specific software or skills.
 
My point is that I don’t mind if company offers me training and wants to protect investment with some kind of reimbursement clause. We don't need to argue about this. However, problem arises when:
1. This training is not optional, but is more TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT offer.
  
2. Reimbursement cost is not based on real market value of received training, but could high as half of employee’s annual salary or even more, which makes very hard or impossible for employee to repay.
 
In such case, employer is in unique position to dictate salary and terms of employment for next several years which is not fair. The fact is that many companies in Eastern Europe practice such unfair arrangements.
 
As I said before, I don’t say that OP has in mind this kind of arrangement. I was just aggravated with initial statement that there is difference in mentality between people from Eastern Europe and rest of the world.
 
Yes, there are some differences in cultural, but not in professional sense. Fair offer in UK or Germany is fair in Bulgaria too. Unfair offer is unfair in every country in the world.

It’s not a question if engineer from Eastern Europe would prefer more or less to sign additional reimbursement clause, but if he or she has a second option. Many of them don’t have.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Lz5pl.
I understand you as well. I don't know if possible recommend something and do something. Guys, I know exactly prices of those training+hotel+.... For small company send two young eng to those training is big problem. It's expensive not only for Eastern Europe. And after this 'Lz5pl need found projects, isn't simple.
Regards.
Slava

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Quote (39minuteman):

This is based on fact that this company had several offices across the Europe, but only office in Eastern Europe had such “unique” terms. Further, this “training” lasted only week or two, it was held by company engineers (not by expensive 3rd party expert) and it was more an introduction lecture about company procedures then training in specific software or skills.
You are right to put the word training in quotes, as I would hardly call this training... more like an orientation to the way things are done at that particular company.  As such, I don't believe it's a valid comparison to the true T&E discussed in this thread.  To use such an orientation as a way to force people into signing an exclusivity contract or be released is beyond questionable in most circles, and in many locations I would imagine is also tantamount to slavery (and therefore illegal if challenged in a court of law).  If it was taught by engineers already on the payroll and every new engineer was required to take it, I hardly see how they can use it as a requirement for contracts (though I'm sure there are plenty of areas around the world where the legality of signed contracts is neither questioned nor acted upon).

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Conditions for training of employees

(OP)
39minuteman, I am really sorry that somebody have been insulted from my statement that there is a difference in mentality between different regions. I do believe this, even from my experience with people in various countries in Africa, Middle East, West Europe and East Europe. I see this just as a matter of fact, not something bad. We have a nice proverb: There is no two identical fingers even on the same hand.
In some societies people rely more on written contracts, in other - one word given is enough, in some - you cannot rely on anything. That's why I made that stipulation, just to point out that some good advice from US-colleague may not be applicable in my case. Simple example: Our first opinion (and most frequent case with other companies here) was similar to several advices from the forum -  the trainee to reimburse part of the cost in case of living the company before predefined time. But in reality there is no practical way for me to put this in force in case he refuse to pay. We should go to the court and although such contract will be perfectly legal, the case will be extended for several years until positive result for me. That's the reality and that's why we finally decided not to ask for formal contracts.

If you re-read carefully my previous posts you can see that I try to keep exactly this way of common understanding and respect with my employees. If not so I just wouldn't care what they will say. I know such companies here - with "accept it or leave" choice.
I am also East European engineer and it wouldn't even come in my mind to bring low East European engineers in comparison with these from any other country!

------------------------
It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Given your circumstances (no work specific to SCADA yet), we would not be sending two of our younger engineers to a training seminar with that kind of a price tag.  Some of the managers would get the training first and then give the young engineers what they need to know to assist in the work (if it comes in, that is).

Instead, we would find some other way to show the engineers we value them; perhaps by sending them to small $2,000 training seminars first.  Give them a chance to show you they're a good risk for your business dollars first.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

In order to compete in this tech age, a company must train continuously, as a result, a small overhead fee should be incorporated in every project (say 1% of total fee)

from an employee perspective, any time we have a new project with substantial fees, I go through our library (books and software) and try to get one or two books, or one new software for the department and charge it to the project. It has worked well for us.

Training should be charged to one or more projects in my opinion. No need for all the legal tangle. Pass the cost on to the custumers, every other industry does it.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

Atlas06. It's really good and right recommendation!!!!
Star to you and to MRM too.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

(OP)
Thank you for last posts, gentlemen. I was a bit busy and traveling around, so didn't reply immediately.

MRM , the first idea of my partner was exactly the same - that I should go on the trainings and after that to train young colleagues. This way the knowledge remains in the company even somebody of them decides to leave. The only problem could be (besides that I am quite busy) if it will be required that only people with training certificates to work on commissioning works later. I like field work, but it is difficult for me to be away from the company for longer time.
Anyway, probably we will proceed exactly that way as a more secure.

atlas06, thank you for the idea, this is a good point and we will use it in future projects. Up to now we never thought about that because all our personnel was trained by me on the basis on my previous trainings and field experience. By the way, as macgyvers2000 pointed out - "if they laid you off, you now have the T&E free of charge." - it happens exactly like that with me - my previous employer closed engineering business and layed everybody out, but he  cannot take back my knowledge and experience, which were my benefits when started my own business.

------------------------
It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

RE: Conditions for training of employees

lz5pl,

Since you own a small company, you should be taking advantage of the situation and trying to form deeper, more personal relationships with your employees than would be allowed in a larger company.  This is one the primary benefits I have found working in a smaller company.  I am very close to the owners and they do their best to make me feel less like an employee and more like a "team member".  How often to you go out for an impromptu lunch with some of your younger engineers?  Do you allow yourself to joke around occasionally with them? If you can successfully instill this atmosphere it will more like a second home to them.  Some may disagree, but this is how it works at the small firm at work for.

That being said, if you are holding these kind of relationships you should a pretty good idea about whether or not your employee would be likely to leave.  Being in a small firm, you can get a better idea of where they are in life with family and what not.  Also, are there any places in the same geographic region ( ie where they wouldn't have to move) where they may have a more attractive offer.  Are you also doing your homework as far as current industry standards for salary and benefits?  I know in my region and in my field, the entry-level pay has increased by 10% in the past year or so.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

The problem with that is often us small company owners cannot match the big boys with pay and perks, however much we want to.

I would guess most of us try to compensate for this by being more flexible and creating more of a “family feel”, however well you feel you know someone or how happy they seem on the outside, large pay rises are always an understandable attraction. To pay for them to be in a stronger position for them to walk out on you still hurts.

RE: Conditions for training of employees

(OP)
abusementpark, your point is exactly what I also think is the correct way of relationships in a small company. I changed my position from employee to  employer just 2 years ago. I still haven't forgotten how people feel from the other side. More - I work also sometimes with our guys on field work and it happens that I intentionally do less qualified (and therefore more boring) portion of the work to give them opportunity to play with our expensive toys. Well, I supervise them, but I try not to go in micromanagement.
Family-type relations are still not possible, as I am the only married in the company smile ! All of them are just graduated and for one of them I was consultant of his BSEE and after that MSEE diploma projects. I do my best to keep friendly relations.

I had a good chance when started my career to have very good head of team. He was my mentor in profession and life-related questions. I try to follow him as far as I can.

Yes, I know who are my competitors and in fact I don't afraid much that some of our employees will go to them. We do our best to build may be not the biggest company, but one with the most qualified services. Salaries are more or less similar, relations in our company I suppose are the most familiar and  we try to take more qualified, therefore more interesting job. Our country is small and the job market is not so big. As ajack1 pointed out our biggest problem are Big Boys - we cannot compete with them not only in salaries, but mostly in career perspectives. But we should live with that...

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It may be like this in theory and practice, but in real life it is completely different.
The favourite sentence of my army sergeant

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