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Communication and language skills pay off, but not everybody needs them

  • Jiří Balcar ORCID logo EMAIL logo and Lucie Dokoupilová ORCID logo


The importance of communication skills is increasing on the labour market and a further strengthening of this trend is expected due to Industry 4.0. This development will have significant consequences for individuals’ employability, requirements on educational outcomes and gender equality. This article employs data from a representative survey of Czech employees (N = 1,500) replenished with information on requirements on their communication skills (Effective communication, Czech language and English language) in order to explore (a) the distribution of communication skills requirements on the labour market, (b) personal and job characteristics related to work positions requiring highly developed communication skills, and (c) wage returns to these skills. The results show that one standard deviation increase in job requirements on communication skills is connected with 5.8% wage premium. However, not everybody needs well-developed communication skills. Only a quarter of employees needs highly developed effective communication, Czech and English languages, while there is also a quarter of employees that needs only a very basic level of communication skills. The results also revealed that females perform more communication-intensive occupations than males do. Cognitive skills and the need to excel represent other significant factors correlated with higher job requirements on communication skills.

Corresponding author: Jiří Balcar, VSB – Technical University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic, E-mail:

Funding source: VSB – Technical University of Ostrava

Award Identifier / Grant number: SGS SP2020/116

Funding source: Czech Science Foundation (GACR)

Award Identifier / Grant number: P402/11/2464

  1. Research funding: This work was funded by VSB – Technical University of Ostrava (grant no. SGS SP2020/116) and Czech Science Foundation (grant no. P402/11/2464).


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Received: 2020-05-24
Accepted: 2021-01-07
Published Online: 2021-06-03
Published in Print: 2021-07-27

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