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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 1, 2014
Business & Economy
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Skill Shortage
August 1, 2014   
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Studies show that foreign companies decide to invest in Poland not only because of the competitive costs here but also because the country has qualified workers. Polish employees are not only well educated but also culturally similar to their counterparts in Western Europe and have similar value systems. Moreover, young Poles are generally ready to adapt to new challenges and trends. All this explains why Poland’s business process outsourcing (BPO) sector is growing rapidly, currently employing well over 100,000.

On the other hand, many employers in Poland have problems in finding workers with the right skills. A recent survey by recruitment and human resource consulting firm Manpower found that 33 percent of businesses in Poland suffer from a shortage of talent. It is small consolation that 36 percent of all employers worldwide say they have the same problem—and that in 2008-2010 every other Polish company had a problem finding employees with the right skills, while today the figure is “only” one in three businesses.

Skilled manual laborers are especially difficult to find in Poland. Research conducted in Poland over the past seven years points to continuing problems experienced by employers in recruiting candidates for such jobs. Employers badly need welders, fitters, turners, machinists, forklift truck operators, mechanics and electricians.

Engineers came in second place in this year’s survey, and they have almost always been among the top four hardest-to-fill positions in Poland. Engineering skills have been in high demand in this country for years.

For the first time, production operators were ranked in third place on the list. They replaced technicians, who usually occupied this position in the past. Currently, technicians are in eighth place. Demand for sales managers and sales representatives also runs high. And there is a constant unmet demand for drivers. Moreover, employers never stop looking for IT professionals, unskilled manual laborers and project managers.

Overall, studies show that Poland, much as other countries in Europe, is beginning to suffer from a shortage of professionals with a technical background. Unless action is taken to change this state of affairs, Poland may find it difficult to attract more investment in the future. Poland’s system of vocational education and training needs to be reformed because it is evidently out of step with changes taking place in the economy.
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