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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » October 29, 2010
Belgium in Poland
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Changing Times on the Job Market
October 29, 2010   
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Maurice Delbar, chairman of the board of Start People, one of the leading employment agencies on the Polish market, talks to Marcin Pawlak.

What led to Start People becoming one of the top job agencies in Poland?
We started at a time when job agencies were new in Poland. There was not a lot of competition although companies like Adecco were already here. The overall economic situation in Poland at the time was very favorable. Our success can really be traced back to three elements. It was just myself arriving from Belgium and two friends from Poland, so we had to gain a competitive edge. We started off in new untapped markets, away from Warsaw, such as ŁódĽ, Piotrków Trybunalski—those areas were really our focus. The other element was complete flexibility. If the client wanted a company set up in the woods in Poland, we would set up in the woods in Poland, no problem. This allowed us to gain a reputation for flexibility and customer service. We really tried to provide the best service possible. The third element is our ongoing restructuring, which allows us to react to crisis much faster. In July 2009 some agencies cut up to 50 percent of their workforce. We did not let anyone go.

Which changes specific to Poland can be observed on the job market?
I have to say that the quality of work in Poland is still extremely high. Workers have not become overly picky like I predicted they would over time. It’s not like Paris, where someone goes on strike every other day. People still work hard and don’t complain. The crisis, of course, has something to do with that fact. And while Poles remain unafraid of change, there is less job-jumping than in other places. Another point is that people receive better training and are more highly qualified than in the past. There is a lot more investment in training and specific career paths, which makes for better-prepared and more serious workers.

Does higher education increase the odds of finding work?
Today’s job market requires better training of everyone. A worker has better chances if he or she is prepared right off the bat and doesn’t require two years of training by the company. It also requires more than just work—it requires people to also get involved and “feel” the work. I always encourage my assistant to provide me with ideas. That’s what I expect. A higher education prepares you for this. The better educated you are, the more reliable an employee you are, even if you’re more expensive for the company.
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