InHunt World Partner in Poland: Sowelo Consulting
Poland is described to be among one of the most attractive locations for foreign investments. International reports highlight the economic stability, large domestic market with almost 38 million citizens and educated human capital. Poland was the only EU nation to maintain a positive economic growth during 2010 global economic crisis, and it is now Europe’s sixth biggest economy.
Poland offers a talented and educated workforce, a vibrant economy and a business-friendly environment. Every year, the number of graduates of Polish universities increase, including faculties useful in high-tech industries. The job mobility is low; the older generation is psychologically attached to their ways, and polish families don’t like to move from one place to another. This means longer careers in same companies for the aging segment, but young people, as always, have a more open attitude and are more willing to move for a job. This is exemplified by the high numbers of Poles travelling to other EU countries to look for work.
Polish companies tend to have a hierarchical structure, with decision-making power held at the top of the company. The main industries include manufacturing, especially in the automotive industry, food processing, banking, and construction. Growing sectors for expats are IT, finance, HR, business services and management, according to Kwintessential.co.
Ease of doing business
To get an objective view on what it’s like to do business in Poland, it is good to take a look at the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business-report. The latest report rated Poland 24th out of 190 countries, actually improving the rate from 2016 (25th). Although the overall rate improved, Poland drops five places in starting a business (107th). Poland has it’s best scores for trading across borders (1st, among 17 other countries), getting credit (20th) and resolving insolvency (27th).
Politics and the economy
Poland was one of the first ex-communist countries to adopt privatization and economic liberalization, which was successful due to the government’s ability to privatize most of the small and medium state-owned companies. Poland’s main export partners are Germany, UK and Czech Republic, and the main exports are machinery and transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food and live animal. The GDP in the first quarter of 2017 was $104,713 million with a 1.1% growth from previous quarter. Indicators suggest that the positive momentum carries over to quarter 2. Poland’s positive forecast is attracting more capital inflows into local fixed income markets, which should in turn affect the polish currency, Zloty, to strengthen against major currencies. The unemployment rate continues to decrease, as it hit a record-low of 5.3 percent during February and March, according to Eurostat.
What to keep an eye on
Poland faces several systemic challenges, which include addressing some of the remaining deficiencies in its road and rail infrastructure, business environment, rigid labor code, commercial court system, government red tape, and burdensome tax system, especially for entrepreneurs. Additional long-term challenges include diversifying Poland’s energy mix, strengthening investments in innovation, research, and development, as well as stemming the outflow of educated young Poles to other EU member states.
The European Commission has threatened to launch a sanction procedure against Poland, as a reaction to new Polish legislation tightening political control over the court, according to Politico. The new legislation has created tension, as Polish people protest against it.
Interview with Adam Lyko, Sowelo Consulting
We had a chance to interview Adam Lyko (Managing Director, Sowelo Consulting). We asked Adam few questions about the headhunting and recruiting market in Poland:
How do you see the situation at the moment in Poland?
There’s no denying that the situation in Poland has changed over the last few years. We are now entering the new phase in which the market belongs to the employee who can choose from many job offers. Employers often have to fight over the best candidates by offering them better salary or more attractive benefits. At the same time, finding the right people can be very difficult. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the number of people in Poland has been decreasing for the last 30 or so years. The number of people born between 1980 and 2003 was lower each consecutive year and also the retirement age has recently been lowered, which results in more people currently leaving the job market. Additionally, huge number of people moved abroad to look for better opportunities and start jobs there.
What we see right now is that good salary and benefits are often by far not enough for candidates to accept the offer. They have higher expectations and standards than few years ago and are starting to choose jobs that will give them more than just financial gains. They want to be employed by a company with the right culture and they are interested in how it operates, how it is run and how it presents itself on the market, how it creates its brand. That is why more and more people are willing to move to another city if they think the job is interesting and rewarding.
This model of the market means that the problem is not only with finding new employees but also keeping the already existing ones as well. In the past the best candidates were the ones who rarely changed their jobs and stayed in one company for at least few years. Now we see more and more people who change the employer every 1 or 2 years.
Are there some industries which are growing faster than others?
Mostly it’s IT, sales and e-marketing, logistics, process automation, digitization, pharmaceuticals, banking, automotive and construction industries.
What kind of roles and talent are companies looking for?
In Poland a lot of companies are currently focusing on delivering good quality of services so they are looking for people who can deliver those services, for example developers, managers and, as companies rapidly develop new channels of distribution, sales representatives. Also some of industries are starting to invest in digitization, automation and robotics and people with skills in those areas are in high demand. As always a lot of companies are looking for good leaders who can manage and lead newly formed teams and divisions.
Is there some kind of talent shortage in Poland?
With a dynamic growth of many businesses in Poland and not enough people to support this growth, talent shortage is inevitable. We currently have the lowest ever unemployment rate in recent years , and that contributes to problems with finding qualified employees. Mostly these are skilled and well trained people: engineers, electricians, construction workers, nurses. But with the current policy of the government, which offers stable monthly financial support for people with two children or more to encourage population growth, for the first time in years we have a lot of vacancies in jobs that don’t require specific skills or much experience , like entry-level shop assistants or call centre workers.
Are companies looking mostly for Polish people, or are they also interested in people from abroad?
Companies try to focus on people from Poland as it is overall easier and cheaper but with the recent market changes it is becoming more difficult to hire locally. Some companies already employ people from abroad and more seriously consider it as there are shortages in the workforce. People from countries like Ukraine and Belarus, often come to Poland to look for better work and salary and they are usually employed in manual labour but they find jobs in other fields as well. Poland is also becoming an attractive destination for people from South America and Indian subcontinent.
Polish is a difficult language to learn so it is not required in big international companies, but knowledge of English is a must.
How do you see the development of recruiting and headhunting markets in Poland over the next couple of years?
The generation which is now entering the job market spends a lot of time on social media platforms and it is very likely that recruitment and headhunting will rely more each year on these platforms. That way it will be easier to attract attention and make contact with people. Taking into account the shortages of qualified staff in Poland companies will have to invest more money in employer branding and in being more “out there” – they will have to come to the candidate with an offer not to be refused rather than the other way round.
More industries will invest in digitization and automation so people with those skills will most be sought for. Additionally, more companies will be open to the possibility of their employees working remotely, to make job offers more attractive.