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    Polish Economy in Need of Seasonal Workers

    Poland is grappling with a significant shortage of seasonal workers, severely impacting the agricultural and horticultural sectors. Ewelina Gawlik, a labor market expert from the temporary employment agency Nova Praca Group, sheds light on the ongoing situation, identifying key issues and potential solutions.

    “The lack of seasonal workers has been a persistent problem for many years. The Polish economy urgently needs additional hands,” says Gawlik. This shortage is most acutely felt in agriculture and gastronomy, but other sectors are also affected.

    A major factor contributing to this shortage is the visa issue and the declining number of Ukrainian workers, who previously formed a substantial part of the seasonal workforce in Poland. “The government is working on tightening the visa issuance system. Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict if the new system will positively impact the number of seasonal workers,” Gawlik explains.

    The changing attitude of Ukrainian workers towards employment in Poland further complicates the situation. “Ukrainians, who used to eagerly take up physical jobs in Poland, such as seasonal harvests, are now more aware of their value in the labor market and increasingly opt for better-paid foreign offers,” notes the expert.

    The most severe shortages are felt in agriculture and horticulture. “Farmers need workers for harvesting strawberries, apples, cabbage, and potatoes. The demand for seasonal workers in this sector is 20% higher than last year,” Gawlik states. The season in Poland usually runs from mid-April to the end of September.

    To attract workers, many employers are raising hourly wages and offering benefits like accommodation and meals. “Wages for seasonal workers have increased by up to 3 PLN net per hour compared to last year. Many employers still offer piecework payment, such as payment per kilogram or basket collected, but our agency advises against this method,” Gawlik explains. “We also rarely see job offers that do not include accommodation for seasonal workers. In the gastronomy sector, workers can also expect meals. The lack of such benefits could influence a potential worker’s decision to take a job.”

    Poland’s labor market has been open to workers from the east for two years now, attracting those who speak English. However, employers are not always prepared to hire English-speaking workers. “They often struggle with communication and prefer to hire Ukrainians or Belarusians, who are linguistically closer to Poles,” says Gawlik.

    While English-speaking workers are eager to find jobs in the Polish market, not all employers are open to them. This issue is not limited to seasonal work but also affects positions in production companies and warehouses.

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