A fall in unemployment, the need to fill vacancies with job seekers from the East and a dynamic growth in salaries – are all these phenomena evidence that the Polish job market has turned into the land of milk and honey for workers? We put this and some other questions about the status of the Polish job market to Martyna Bloch, the Regional Recruitment Director at Professional, part of Grupa LeasingTeam.


Has the Polish job market become the employee’s market?

To be fair, this claim doesn’t hold much credence in reference to Poland. Across enterprises, it’s the employers who continue to have the upper hand, whilst labor law regulations that govern mobbing, employment relationships or worktime are often being bypassed by relying on limited duration contracts or aren’t followed at all. Whilst measures exist to protect employees, whether in the form of trade unions, court action or simply HR processes, few employees get to use them for fear of losing their jobs, having to involve themselves in lengthy and costly court battles and the ill fame that may follow them around when seeking a job with a competitor.


This doesn’t apply to some niches in the Polish job market though?

The employee’s job market may exist in places where there’s a deficit of workers. This typically applies to professionals who – within reason – may in fact place some demands on their future employers. Increasingly often professionals end up providing all sorts of services not as regular company employees, but as self-employed entrepreneurs. The IT industry is closest to what we might call the employee’s job market. This is where large companies compete to attract workers, reach out to increasingly younger audiences, occasionally even to university students.


What challenges is the Polish job market currently up against according to the experts?

From an employment agency’s standpoint, the Polish job market is undoubtedly tough. On the one hand, we’ve got job seekers, especially in the younger age groups, who have increasing expectations of employers, want free gym memberships, private medical care or coverage of cultural pursuits, while on the other, we’ve got companies who’ve been following the same routine approaches for decades. You’ve got to reconcile the two. Whilst the society overall is becoming increasingly more aware of its rights, in the job market it’s still the employers who are calling the shots. In spite of the recent growth in salary levels, the nature of the employment relationship is still up to the employer. In this context, the dialogue between a temp work agency and the employer proves particularly important, so that we’re able to give our candidates a thorough overview of what the potential employer is willing to offer. The goal should be for the job seeker to make a conscious decision as to taking on a job, while being fully informed about employment terms. Only then will the candidate stay with a specific employer for longer. The other important thing is to check during an interview for not just candidate credentials, but to also explore the candidate’s motivations and predispositions to perform a given job.


What has been the impact of government benefit programs, like 500+, on the job market?

These sorts of social assistance programs do transform the status of the job market in a certain way. A lot of entry level workers no longer look for jobs and resort to relying on government assistance, since they’re able to either maintain their quality of life without having to work or the drop in quality of life that they experience is negligible. This leads to vacancies in entry level positions which need to be filled with foreign workers. They typically hail from economic and political migrant populations originating from Ukraine, Nepal or India. Whilst they’re motivated to work, the hiring process isn’t always straightforward because of language barriers or bias on the part of employers. The agency’s job is to carefully match job seekers to employers and vice versa.


Will the Polish job market evolve toward becoming an employee’s market?

In spite of the widespread belief, we’re still a long way away from this. While we do see that employers are taking better care of the people they hire because they’re aware that filling vacancies is becoming increasingly more difficult, our experience shows that it’s the employers who continue to call the shots and set the rules of the game.