Domestic companies are relying more heavily on foreign workers each year, with the number of works permits in Poland exceeding 400,000 in 2020. However, the growing number of visitors is not meeting the current needs of businesses. Many Polish factories and trading companies, including one in three companies in the industrial and commercial sector, have announced that they are looking for foreign workers. The attractiveness of offers and the assurance of stability and a sense of security are therefore gaining in importance.
The economic ills of developed countries
High levels of prosperity in developed countries inevitably come with staffing problems for some employers. The permanent labour shortage is a serious problem for businesses and entire sectors of the economy. A well-known and practised solution to it for decades is to hire workers from other countries.
In the European Union, many member states rely on foreign labour, often from outside the Community. According to Eurostat, 23 million non-EU nationals were living within the Union’s borders in 2020, representing 5% of the population and a valuable human resource. They rely heavily on the hospitality industry, which employs 12% of visitors – three times the percentage for EU citizens. The second-largest area of employment for immigrants is the construction sector, where 9% of them work.
Polish labour shortages
The situation in the domestic labour market confirms that Poland has come closer to Western European countries. Indeed, there has been a labour shortage for several years. By the end of 2020, 84,400 jobs were vacant in Poland. The largest number – 21,200 – is in industrial processing plants. Another 10,000 in the area of automotive trade and repair. At the same time, the number of vacancies has significantly decreased compared to 2019 (125 thousand). This is thanks to foreigners, among others, as Poland has recorded a positive migration balance since 2016.
In 2021, the number of people who have a residence permit in Poland will reach about 536 thousand. The vast majority of them come to the Vistula River in search of work. According to the data from the Office for Foreigners, the largest number of foreigners with valid documents entitling them to stay in Poland reside in the Mazowieckie Province (140 thousand), Małopolskie Province (almost 63 thousand), Wielkopolskie Province (49 thousand) and Dolnośląskie Province (almost 47 thousand).
In 2020, 406,500 people received a work permit in Poland. Ukrainian citizens dominate among them, accounting for 72.6% of all employed foreigners. The second position is held by Belarusians (less than 7%), followed by citizens of Georgia and India (2% each).
According to the Polish Labor Market Barometer, already every third company in the industrial sector plans to hire personnel from Ukraine. There are 27% of such companies in trade and 20% in the service industry. Currently, workers from Ukraine most often (71%) perform physical work in Poland. One in five Ukrainians work in services and 5% do white-collar jobs. These numbers may change in the future, as young people from across the eastern border are increasingly eager to come to the Vistula to study. Of the 85,000 foreign students in 2020, almost half were Ukrainians and another 10,000 were Belarusians.
Important incentives for labour migration include better wages, secure working conditions, and job stability. Visitors from countries plagued by all kinds of unrest seek safety. For employers competing for foreign nationals, this is an important tip. Meanwhile, only 11% of companies offer private health care to foreigners as an employee benefit. Admittedly, the purchase of basic health insurance is mandatory for legal entry into the EU. For complete comfort and safety, however, it is worth treating this issue more comprehensively.