Poland's Employment Challenges in 2024, Bring It on, We Love It!
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Poland’s Employment Challenges in 2024, Bring It on, We Love It!

I was fascinated to discover that despite Poland having the second-lowest unemployment levels in the EU, the country also seems to be struggling with labour shortages, in certain specific sectors such as healthcare, food and the hospitality sector, and physical labour roles. This reminded me of the time when the UK economy was struggling equally with similar issues, and indeed today the NHS or National Health Service are presently struggling hard to fill vacancies, especially in hospitals and the care homes market.

Interestingly, the NHS is very dependent on foreign labour, not helped at all by the very real restrictions placed on migrant workers as a result of Brexit and all the chaos and consequence, that came with it. So, while both nations have different problems, they also have similar employment trends in 2024.

Why is Poland struggling with unemployment rates?

From what I can gather one of the key reasons is because of the outdated labour laws that really do make job creation difficult, in addition the outdated laws that protect elder employees (especially those over 56 years of age) none of which help.

I know from my own experience over the years with the Verita group that trying to be agile and nimble in creating new roles with key clients can be seriously complex, this does not help anyone, so some radical reform is in my opinion needed sooner rather than later. But as I have discovered Poland does like a bit of administration and as for government bureaucracy don’t get me started on that. I can feel my blood pressure boiling already. A throw-back to the old days of previous regimes, but surely in 2024 this thinking needs modernizing into how to do good and efficient business in 2024.

Employees expect remote work

In addition, there is more evidence that people want remote working, Deloitte recently reported that half the people considering changing jobs would only do so if they could work remotely. In addition if the number of days that they were expected to work in the office actually increased then they would change jobs. Amazing really to think just how the pandemic has impacted on the norms of the past. Office working used to be the only option for the majority, no one would have even considered home working, it just was not an option.

I was talking to a friend of mine recently who made it clear that he would never even consider working in an office, the cost of commuting, the waste of time, the whole office politics and all that went behind it just made the whole concept a complete no, no. Indeed, he confided that actually he had modified his bedroom to be his office. This meant that he could conduct his work while staying in bed! He called it the Boffice, maybe it will catch on, who knows.

What else do employees expect?

So, what are employees expectations in 2024? Well pay is high on the agenda, especially where there is fierce competition in those sectors fishing in an ever-shrinking pool of good candidates. So, sadly, the reality is that you are going to have to pay much more than you may have done even last year. Furthermore, employees expect a lot more benefits as part of the whole package, these include medical and sports bundles, language courses, and personal development training budgets, all conspire to add more cost if you want to recruit the best candidates. There is also evidence that people expect more mindfulness, especially when it comes to mental health issues, as well as a better blend between managing their work and personal life balance.

So, some interesting challenges lie ahead, but as ever the one thing that the Polish market has shown time and time again is that however big the challenge the industry will rise to the challenge, after all no one said that it was easy. But for me, I have always enjoyed that unique challenge that the crazy, mad, world of recruitment offers, which clearly means that I am indeed insane. I would not have it any other way.

Author: Austin Birks

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