It's back to being an employee's market, with employers having to concentrate on recruiting and retailing staff like never before.
Two macro trends are coming into conflict – on the one hand demographics, on the other technology. Some employers are concerned that the Polish labour market will run dry; falling birth rates mean that each year fewer and fewer young Poles are starting work. Others are saying that robots and algorithms will soon destroy vast numbers of jobs. What's certain is that these two trends will not cancel each other out. Labour shortages will intensify in some sectors, while many people will be left without the skills that the labour market will need most.
The other big trend that's affecting HR is migration. The UK opened its labour market to Poles when Poland was experiencing record high unemployment. Now, the UK is looking to close its labour market to Poles – just as Polish unemployment falls to record lows. Tens of thousands of Poles are already returning home from the UK, pushed by a falling pound and a less welcoming climate, pulled by rising wages and living standards. Since Poland joined the EU, it's GDP has risen by over 160%, whilst the UK's has risen by around 25%. But Poland is also attracting ever-increasing numbers of Ukrainian nationals to its labour market. Over 1.2m Ukrainians work legally in Poland, albeit mostly on temporary work permits, in sectors from agriculture to IT, from manufacturing to logistics.
The BPCC's members are reporting different situations on local labour markets around Poland. Across Lower Silesia, the market is particularly tight, as it is in Kraków, Poznań, the Tri-City and Warsaw. Sectors such as IT and BPO (especially in Wrocław and Kraków) are finding recruitment and retention difficult. Yet in many smaller cities, labour supply is still plentiful. At a BPCC meeting in Rzeszów last month, in the heart of Poland's Aerospace Valley, members and new investors said they had no difficulties with their human resources.
It's one thing to find willing employees, it's another to ensure that their skills match the job's requirements. Training, coaching and mentoring, continually raising the qualifications of ones workforce and management, is an essential part of maintaining business competitiveness. As Poland moves from being a low-cost, low-skills economy to becoming one that's increasingly knowledge-driven, professional qualifications are becoming increasingly important.
And this is where the UK, Brexit notwithstanding, has an excellent part to play as a global provider of know-how – education, training, professional qualifications, certification, disseminating best practice.
This issue of Contact Magazine Online includes many articles that shed light on the current state of the HR market in Poland – and on its future prospects.
We particularly commend the piece from Deloitte's Michał Ołbrychowski and the interview with Charles Carnall, the new director of Hays in Poland. If you're looking for ground-breaking new ideas which look set to revolutionise the way businesses think and act, please read the article by IBD Business School's Prof Jan Nowak. Paul Strohn from RICS writes about how this venerable British professional body is spreading the highest standards of ethical behaviour and building trust throughout the world of real estate. These and many other articles should be read to give a thorough, all-round picture of the Polish HR market. We hope you'll find them useful!