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Salaries as a Key Factor in the Polish Labor Market – Expectations Rise Faster Than Wages

CAREERSSalaries as a Key Factor in the Polish Labor Market – Expectations Rise Faster Than Wages

Adapting the labor market to the dynamic development of business is a significant challenge for both employers and employees, especially when their expectations for the workplace are not always aligned. The Talent Trends 2024 report by recruitment firm PageGroup, the most comprehensive global analysis of talent, shows that for 70% of Polish candidates, salaries remain the most crucial factor when changing jobs, and their financial expectations are rising faster than wages. In Europe, this percentage stands at 53%. Regardless of location, the second priority is work-life balance.

The Polish labor market, like the European one, is currently facing many challenges. According to the Talent Trends 2024 study, one of the biggest challenges is the mismatch between employers’ and employees’ expectations, particularly concerning the work model. Despite mass returns to offices, candidates are still seeking hybrid work. Other key phenomena include building genuinely inclusive workplaces, which employees expect. The labor market is also set for significant changes related to the development of artificial intelligence – adaptation to new conditions is ongoing.

Salary as the Top Priority

According to the Talent Trends 2024 report, salary is by far the most important factor in attracting and retaining talent within an organization. For 70% of respondents in Poland, a higher salary than their current role is the key aspect influencing their decision to accept or consider a new job offer. On a European scale, slightly more than half of respondents share this view, still prioritizing salary. There is no significant difference in satisfaction with current earnings, with about 60% of both Polish and European respondents satisfied with their remuneration.

– “Employees’ drive for higher salaries in new roles clashes with companies’ budget constraints, which are a result of the economic situation. The key is to find a balance between what employees are looking for and what the financial capabilities of organizations allow,” says Marcin Fleszar, Director at Michael Page Katowice.

Work-Life Balance is a Priority

The second most important factor for job satisfaction in both Poland and Europe is maintaining a work-life balance. Respectively, 45% and 50% of respondents confirmed that this balance is crucial for them. The importance of this factor is further highlighted by the fact that 42% of Polish candidates are willing to decline a promotion to maintain their well-being. This, however, is still one of the lowest percentages in Europe, where the average is 57%.

– “The tendency to prioritize mental health and free time over career advancement is a significant trait of modern employees. Flexibility, understood as adjusted working hours, hybrid work, or fully remote work, has become a standard,” adds Marcin Fleszar.

The Beginning of Cultivating Openness

The labor market is still at the beginning of implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). In Poland, only three out of ten candidates (32%) feel they can be their authentic selves at work. In Europe, this percentage is slightly higher at 37%. Furthermore, only 14% of Polish respondents believe their organization is inclusive, compared to 23% of European respondents. Workplace discrimination remains one of the most significant global issues. Only about 30% of people facing this problem choose to report it, indicating the need for better support structures within companies.

– “Companies need to move from declarations to concrete actions, whose effects will be measured and transparently communicated both internally and externally. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not only about social justice but also a key element in building engaged and innovative teams that bring business benefits,” says Konrad Michałek, Senior Director, Head of Warsaw Office at Michael Page.

Facing the AI Revolution

The development of artificial intelligence is driving changes in the labor market, particularly concerning how work is performed and transforming career paths. Currently, 27% of people in Poland use AI in their current role, ahead of Europe (23%). Moreover, 54% of Polish respondents believe that AI in the workplace will affect their long-term career plans, compared to 49% of European respondents.

– “It is no secret that the development of artificial intelligence can significantly change the labor market and career paths for many people. To fully leverage the potential of AI, companies must invest in the education and development of their employees and promote responsible and ethical use of technology. Only in this way can lasting benefits from this transformation be achieved,” concludes Konrad Michałek.

A Reference Point to Return To

– “This year’s Talent Trends report has been enhanced with an interactive online analytical tool, enabling an in-depth exploration of the report’s data and quick, transparent insights. Employers can use these insights to build or improve, among other things, the internal culture of their company. The tool provides access to information on how employees truly feel in the workplace, considering factors such as loyalty to the company, salary expectations, work flexibility, and mental health,” says Natalia Żurawska, Head of Marketing at Michael Page.

With the online analytical tool, you can search a range of complex data according to your preferences – selecting any two filters, in various countries, regions, industries, or job roles. The tool will be regularly updated with additional market information.


All data, unless otherwise stated in the report, comes from an online survey conducted by PageGroup and UNLIMITED. Nearly 50,000 respondents worldwide participated in the study, including over 16,000 from Europe and 530 from Poland. The survey was conducted between November 26 and December 11, 2023.

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