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The Warsaw Voice » Business » April 25, 2013
Business & Economy
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We Need to Keep Young Poles in Poland
April 25, 2013   
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The flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Poland last year was significantly down on previous years. Yet this country is still perceived as an attractive location for foreign capital. International reports point to the country’s economic and political stability, its educated and qualified labor force and its large internal market. Despite the global economic crisis, Poland has even strengthened its position—not only in Central and Eastern Europe, but across the whole continent.

In the view of international business leaders, Poland’s most important asset is its human capital, a factor contributing to its competitive edge over other countries. Investors praise the work ethos, attitude and commitment of Polish workers and their command of foreign languages.

The evidence of this includes the rapid expansion of the outsourcing sector in Poland. The country is regarded as the most mature offshoring destination in Europe and one of the five leading offshoring locations in the world besides Brazil, India, China and the Philippines.

Poland is the undisputed leader in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of the number of new investment projects and the size of employment in outsourcing services. More than 370 business services centers operated in Poland in 2012, employing over 100,000 people. A further increase in employment is projected—by 15-20 percent by the end of this year.

Paradoxically, the financial crisis helped the development of the outsourcing business in Poland. Foreign companies were forced to cut costs, and sought to relocate their business processes to countries where the quality of services provided is equally high, but labor costs are lower. This turned out to be an effective tool in counteracting the crisis. Poland’s specialties include financial and accounting processes, IT and research and development services. Research and development work is conducted not only in R&D centers, but also in centers providing advanced IT outsourcing services. Poland’s presence in the banking services sector is increasingly strong, and a significant percentage of the world’s largest banking and financial institutions have service centers in the country. Many institutions of this kind also use the services offered by business services centers located in Poland.

Well-qualified labor is now one of Poland’s biggest assets in attracting foreign investment. On the other hand, many young educated Poles are unable to find jobs in Poland and migrate abroad in search of employment. The CBOS public opinion research center estimates that around 3.3 million Polish people have worked abroad for a longer or shorter period in the past 10 years. The number of people who migrated to another country for work after Poland’s entry to the European Union has reached 2.4 million, among them many young specialists. Unemployment, which has been growing recently in Poland, especially among the young, will be a growing concern in the future. This is reflected in a CBOS survey last year that shows students are especially interested in working abroad. Nearly two-fifths of them plan to work outside Poland in the future or are already looking for such jobs. If such a large-scale migration were to occur, it would be a big loss to the Polish economy. As a result, decision makers should, as quickly as possible, find an answer to the question of how to retain young educated Poles in Poland.
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