Polish economy needs blue collar workers: report

In May, the unemployment rate in Poland was 6.1 percent. Photo: Shutterstock

As many as 51 percent of Polish companies reported difficulties in the area of labor acquisition, with drivers, machine operators and physical laborers being among the most demanded professions, a recent report finds.

The report by the ManpowerGroup employment agency said that the problem is global and is growing.

According to the ManpowerGroup group report, Poland is one of top ten countries struggling with employment in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The highest deficit was noted in Romania (86 percent), Bulgaria (68 percent) and Turkey (66 percent). Companies from Ireland and the UK fared best in this regard, with 18 and 19 percent respectively.

Empty job market

Production and machine operators topped the list of the most demanded professions in Poland this year for the first time.

Analysts believe that the demand is directly correlated with the influx of foreign investment in production and logistics, as well as automatization of Polish companies.

Simple tasks are being taken over by robots, the report said. This gradually decreases the demand for low-qualified workers.

Both domestically and globally, the most common reason for shortage of employees, according to employers, is a deficit of candidates. Companies complain that prospective employees possess a lack of hard skills and have exceedingly high financial expectations.

Breaking old habits

“Polish companies have been taking workers’ availability for granted, especially when it comes to lower-skilled [workers],” said Piotr Lewandowski from the Institute for Structural Research.

The dangerous tendency that Iwona Janas from ManpowerGroup points out is that Polish companies seems to underestimate the seriousness of the situation and believe that it a temporary problem rather than a long-term scenario. The number of Polish companies completely ignoring the problem amounts to 25 percent of the total, whereas globally the figure is only 11 percent.

Migrants yes, but selected

In an interview for Polish weekly “Sieci,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki admitted that GDP would “in some term” drop below four percent, due to the lack of workers. He added that Poland needed migrants to boost its labor market.

The current Polish government has opposed the compulsory EU quotas for the reallocation of refugees from Africa and the Middle East. However, the same government has been welcoming to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian migrants as well as job seekers from Asia (Philippines and Vietnam).

In May, the unemployment rate in Poland was 6.1 percent.