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Poland’s Job Market in Flux

CAREERSPoland's Job Market in Flux

One in three companies (36%) has faced issues with employee turnover in recent months. At the same time, 38% of entrepreneurs do not have specified plans to counteract turnover, according to the “Labor Market Barometer” by Gi Group Holding. Meanwhile, high living costs are prompting workers to look for new employment opportunities. Technological progress, requiring new competencies, is also a motivator – 46% of employees claim that the offer of professional development is more important to them than small salary increases. What else motivates employees, and are their expectations aligned with what companies offer?

A study conducted by SW Research on behalf of Gi Group Holding shows that 52.4% of companies have not had a problem with employee departures recently, while 36.2% of them have faced such challenges.

The study results also indicate that, similar to last year, 78% of employers plan to maintain the level of employment in the coming quarter. This means that although individuals who do not plan to change jobs should not worry about their employment, companies face new challenges related to both efforts to reduce turnover and acquiring employees with the expected competencies.

Especially since, despite declared job satisfaction, nearly half (44.9%) of employed individuals are considering changing their job, marking the highest result since 2018. The study indicates a reversal of the trend – for the first time, the percentage planning to change jobs is higher than those not interested. Reasons for openness to changing employers also stand out – 47% of respondents want to leave due to too low salaries, 32% see no prospects for professional advancement, and 29% expect greater development opportunities.

How do companies plan to retain employees?

According to the “Labor Market Barometer” by Gi Group Holding, a total of 78% of employers forecast maintaining the current number of employees – 58% aim to achieve this without recruiting new employees, and 20% consider hiring new people. It’s puzzling that more than one-third of all companies (38.2%) do not have a specified strategy to counteract turnover.

“Although market data already indicate some recovery, companies are still uncertain about the future. They fear further cost increases and are concerned about the geopolitical situation. As a result, they maintain budgetary discipline, are cautious in making business decisions, increasing employment, or salaries beyond the minimum wage increase. However, this year’s results show that employers are reaching for increasingly diverse solutions to prevent employee departures. The noticeable decline in the popularity of financial motivators may result from budget constraints. However, it may also signify the search for more comprehensive and long-term solutions focused on building employee engagement and loyalty,” comments Marcos Segador Arrebola, Managing Director of Gi Group Holding in Poland.

In the battle against turnover, companies most commonly resort to salary increases (22.5%). The lesser popularity of this solution is noteworthy – last year, 24.5% opted for this step, and two years ago, 30.6%. A similar situation applies to bonus systems. Currently, 12.2% of companies use them to reduce turnover, compared to 14.5% last year. There’s also an increase in interest in employee benefit systems (13.9% vs. 7% last year). Companies also decide to invest in employee development by providing training. However, a decline in declarations compared to last year has also been noted in this case (from 16.8% to 13.1%).

Not just financial expectations – causes of recruitment difficulties

Currently, 36% of enterprises, mainly large ones, declare difficulties in finding suitable employees, while 53% do not have such problems. The most frequently reported reasons are potential employees’ excessively high financial expectations (48.4% vs. 25.3% year-to-year). The lack of candidates on the market, which was a problem for over 74% of companies last year, is now indicated by only 30% of enterprises. However, they complain more about mismatched competencies (38.6% vs. 32.9% year-to-year) than before. The resignation of candidates during the recruitment process is also a problem.

Ways to deal with recruitment difficulties

Faced with difficulties in acquiring suitable employees, companies face the challenge of maintaining the productivity of current teams. Compared to last year, however, there is a clear change in strategy in this area. Offering candidates higher salaries, which used to be the most popular solution, is now only in sixth place (14.1%). This is mainly chosen by the largest organizations (18.5%). The most commonly mentioned way to deal with recruitment problems is offering current employees additional hours of work (25.5%), recruiting foreigners, mainly workers from Ukraine (17.9%), and supporting new qualifications or retraining (also 17.9%, last year it was only 6.3%). The importance of cooperation with employment agencies has significantly increased to 17%.

What do employees expect?

A study among individuals planning to change jobs shows that financial factors not only continue to play a key role in the desire to stay in the current job, but their importance has even increased compared to last year. Salary increases and additional bonuses are still the main motivators (90% and 85%, respectively) to stay in the current company. Although the “Labor Market Barometer” indicates that more employees than before expect their salaries to remain at the same level (30.7%), nearly 60% of employed individuals expect raises. Most of them count on a salary increase of 11-20% (41.8%), nearly one in five expects a raise no higher than 10%, and one in four even expects 21-30%.

In addition to financial issues, greater opportunities for professional development and an improvement in the workplace atmosphere (75% each) would also be significant in the decision to stay in the current job, as well as actions ensuring a balance between private and professional life (72%).

“The study results show that although salary still plays the most important role in employee motivation, it is not the only significant factor influencing the desire to stay in the company. Issues such as development opportunities, workplace atmosphere, and lower levels of occupational stress are becoming increasingly important, especially for the youngest workers. For generations Y and Z, independence and work-life balance are priorities. They do not hesitate to look for an employer who meets most of their expectations,” comments Ewa Michalska, Operations Director at Grafton Recruitment.

Investing in the future – opportunities for professional development

As many as 46% of employees claim that the opportunity for professional development is more important to them than small salary increases. 22% of respondents disagreed with this statement. The importance of development increases with age and position. Older specialists and managers more often assess current and future employers in this regard and it more strongly influences their job satisfaction.

What solutions do employers offer in this area? Nearly half (49.2%) organize internal training, and one in three (32.4%) external. Almost 17% decide to subsidize employees’ education. Other forms of support, such as developing career paths, promotion programs, engaging in ambitious projects, mentoring, or the opportunity to work in various positions, are implemented by every tenth company. However, one in four does not undertake any initiatives aimed at supporting the professional development of their teams.

Employees’ expectations differ from the most commonly offered options. The most desired by employees are education subsidies (38.9%) and external training (37.2%). The financial investment from the employer, which can be interpreted as a form of employee appreciation, is not insignificant in this context.

“The fact that employees expect support in professional development is a good sign. Considering the dynamic changes in the labor market, including the ongoing automation and development of artificial intelligence, offering solutions that support change and enhance qualifications is becoming increasingly important for both sides. Regardless of the budget or size of the organization, managers should allocate time and resources for investments in employee education. However, the development path must correlate with the company’s goals and position, so a transparent approach to this issue from the recruitment stage is important,” concludes Paweł Prociak, Managing Director at Wyser, Executive Search.

The role of benefits

Introducing or enhancing the benefits offer as a very important factor was indicated by 34% of respondents. It is worth noting that although benefits are increasingly treated as a standard element of the offer to employees in media messages, the reality in many companies differs from these trends. Nearly one in four employers does not offer their employees any non-wage benefits. In the case of small companies, this percentage is even higher, at 29%.

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