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31 (126) 2017
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Editorial Note

Editorial note

By Michael Dembinski, chief advisor and Dorota Kierbiedź, membership director
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The BPCC holds many events across Poland, increasingly on the premises of our members in the manufacturing sector.

New investors are moving in – shared services and IT hubs, industrial and logistics – and everywhere the same issue is on everyone's lips – what do we need to do to recruit and retain the employees that we need?

Unemployment in Poland has never been lower. The official claimant rate, according to the central statistical office, GUS, is 7.0%. Eurostat gives the number of Poles of working age who are economically inactive as being 4.7%. Much of the difference (2.3 percentage points) can be explained by the grey sector, the cash-in-hand economy. Yet if we look across Poland, we can see wide variations in the GUS figures. In Poznań, it is 1.7%. In the district of Szydłowiec, to the south of Radom, it is 26.9%. These differences are important when it comes to choosing an location for a new investment. But if you are already in Warsaw (unemployment 2.4%) or Wrocław (2.5%), the labour market is indeed very tight.

Other than engaging in a salaries arms-race, what should employers be taking to stay competitive? This issue of Contact Magazine Online asks to what extent IT is the answer, and how technology will shape the future labour market in Poland.

Studies by PwC and various think-tanks across the developed economies suggest that by 2030, over 30% of jobs that exist today could disappear, swept away by artificial intelligence (AI). Machine learning will automate many white-collar activities in areas such as accountancy, finance and law. Big Data, coupled to AI, will lead to the automation of marketing functions, offering businesses greater returns on their marketing budgets. Autonomous vehicles will drive themselves around our cities in safety, delivering people and goods to where they need to be. In manufacturing industry, IT will ensure that robots talk to one another, ordering components from suppliers without the need for human intervention. The Internet of Things (IoT), the backbone of the Industry 4.0 concept, will reduce industry's demand for labour.

But on the other hand, Poland, and much of the Western World, is facing a demographic dip. With ever fewer young people entering the labour market, will the automation of work eventually match the lower supply of employees? Or will the skills shortage simply become exacerbated, because those few job-market entrants that there are are woefully unprepared for the technological world of work that awaits them?

These are issues the BPCC has been discussing with its members around Poland, looking at the impact of IT on the labour market, considering what skills will be needed by employers – in manufacturing industry, in shared services, in IT itself – and what the Polish government needs to be doing today to ensure that children at school today will be equipped with the right skills and mindset to thrive in an increasingly technological labour market. Tech is building smartness into the things around us. To make things that consumers and businesses will need and want will require new ways of thinking; are Poland's schools today preparing tomorrow's employees with a 'think big' and 'can-do' attitude?

Articles from Hays, Grayling, Deloitte, Sage, Antal, Tagetic, Pelka PR, Society of Human Resource Managers  and others  focus on different aspects of these questions, offering plenty of fresh business insight. And there is an update from Ministry of Digital Affairs as to how the Polish government is getting on with implementing the digitisation of the state.

All in all, there's much to read in Contact Magazine Online that will bring you up to date with what's happening in the world of Tech and how it's impacting the Polish economy – and in particular its labour market.

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