Current research and development capacities in industrial establishments

Using research, development and innovation (RDI) to increase competitiveness often requires businesses to establish their own research workplaces or designate employees to engage in RDI. Researchers possess scientific knowledge, abilities and skills and have innovative potential – therefore, their intellectual capital is a decisive factor in implementing RDI or competitiveness based on RDI. At the same time, possession of research capacity reflects the research capabilities of the given organization. In addition to a sufficient level of knowledge held by members of the organization, an indicator of RDI staffing is also a sufficient number of these workers. How many scientific and research positions does one organization have? What is the ratio of scientific and research job positions compared to the overall number of employees in industrial organizations working with RDI and operating in the Czech Republic?

In November 2014, the Institute for Evaluations and Social Analyses (INESAN) implemented a research survey focusing on the practice of organizations operating in the Czech Republic in the area of RDI. The primary goal of the project was to evaluate the current situation in the area of RDI in industrial establishments and identify the planned use of RDI in the future. Using the CATI technique, interviews were carried out with representatives of individual organizations that were chosen via stratified random sampling from the database of industrial establishments in the Czech Republic. Focus was placed on organizations that had singled out an independent employee or team of employees to engage in RDI, amounting to a total of 168 cases.

In terms of an absolute indicator, an average of 12 scientific or research workers are employed in industrial establishments that possess an independent RDI division or employees engaging in RDI. According to data from the Czech Statistical Office, the average number of scientific and research positions in the processing industry is 14. Half of the organizations in which personnel capacity has been earmarked for RDI use up to six scientific and research positions. Most often, three research employees are employed (12% of organizations). The lowest number of scientific and research positions is one, and the highest is 95 positions within one organization. In 27% of organizations, one to three members of staff are employed; in the next 27%, there are four to six scientific and research employees. Seven to 12 employees are utilized in 24% of organizations, and 13 or more are employed in 22% of organizations. As expected, large organizations employ more of these staff members than small organizations. Eighty-nine percent of organizations with a maximum of 49 employees have six or less positions; this applies to 75% of organizations with 50 to 249 employees and 28% of organizations with 250 and more employees.

Differences exist according to sector. While one to three researchers are most often employed in the paper, timber and textile industry (50% of cases compared to 27% in the chemical industry, 23% in the metallurgy and glass industries, and 15% in mechanical engineering), 13 or more scientific employees are most often employed in the mechanical engineering industry (38% of cases compared to 11% in the paper, timber and textile industry, 24% in the chemical industry, and 11% in metallurgy).

By taking into consideration the relative ratio of scientific and research positions from the overall number of employees, we can claim that the ratio is lower than 2% in a third of organizations, lower than 5% in two thirds of organizations, and 5% or more in a third of organizations. A more detailed analysis shows that the ratio of these positions from the overall number of employees differs greatly in a statistical sense according to the size of the organization. It is characteristic of small organizations (94% of them) to have a ratio of scientific and research positions from the overall number of employees that is higher than 5% (in medium-sized companies it is 35% and 20% in large companies). On the contrary, it is typical for half of large organizations to have a ratio of scientific and research positions from the overall number of employees that is lower than 2% (in medium-sized companies it is 20%; no such organization appeared in the sample of small companies). A connection with a given sector was not statistically significant.

Graph: Ratio of scientific and research employees from total number of employees

Barring a few exceptions, organizations primarily utilize small collectives of scientific employees who form only a small portion of personnel in terms of the whole organization. Results indicate that especially organizations with a smaller number of employees will have problems with staffing capacities. While the ratio of RDI employees is not as large in terms of the overall number of employees in large organizations, which are characterized by their specialization of functions, scientific and research positions pose a greater burden to small organizations.