A record-low 5.8% unemployment rate, a 7% increase in the number of new jobs added in 2018 versus 2017, and 165 thousand vacancies across the whole of Poland (up by 35%, year on year) – this is the picture of the Polish labor market. How will it affect employment in 2019? Which recruitment and human resources management trends will continue and which trends will become obsolete? Our experts from LeasingTeam Group, Poland’s largest group of personnel consultancy companies, will answer these, as well as other questions.


GDPR – The Year’s Top Challenge
Without a doubt, in the HR market, 2018’s top challenge proved to be the implementation of the GDPR directive. These new personal data protection regulations have significantly impacted employment agencies who gather and use information on employees and potential job candidates on an on-going basis.


It wasn’t only the operational aspect of implementing GDPR regulations across organizations that proved challenging; designing new ways of acquiring and processing candidate contact details was another challenge. We are seeing social media like LinkedIn and Facebook play an increasingly greater role in recruitment, particularly in permanent recruitment by our Professional and ITLT companies.


Help From the East

But even the best tools and communication platforms can’t change the fact that Poland suffers from a shortage of manpower. When we juxtapose statistics Poland data about 165 thousand unfilled vacancies in Q2 of 2018 over the lowest in years unemployment rate of 5.8% (Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy), and the entry onto the job market of birth cohorts born during the years when birth rates were declining, we witness something that’s never been seen in the Polish job market before e.g. huge demand for workers from the East.


- Poland is an attractive country to work in for workers from the East. It’s estimated that there are currently around 1.5 million Ukrainians working here. The range of geographies we are recruiting from is expanding from one month to the next. We are increasingly more hiring employees from more remote countries, like Moldavia, Nepal, India, Azerbaijan and even Vietnam. Polish employers are having to face up to an ever growing challenge of managing a multicultural workplace and creating the right working conditions – says Aneta Sztompka, International Markets Development Director at LeasingTeam Group who is responsible for recruiting workers from the East.


With the prospect of the German job market opening up to accept non-EU citizens in mind, it’s worth asking whether workers from the East will consider Poland to be the last or first stop on their way to a professional career?


Will the German Job Market Cause an Outflow Of Workers From the East?

Germany suffers from a painful shortage of professionals. The Q3 2018 data shows the country needs a record 1.24 million professionals, engineers and IT people. In an attempt to counteract thisgrowing trend, the German government adopted an immigration bill that aims to make it easier to hire non-EU professionals. The significant difference in pay levels between Poland and Germany, which works to Germany’s advantage, means Polish companies are anxious about losing their Eastern workforce. Is this anxiety justified?


- It’s important to note that the softened regulations which come into effect on January 1st 2020 only lift the mandatory job market test. This is a so-called test of ‘first refusal’ which means that an employer may hire a foreigner to fill an existing vacancy only after having had confirmed that a German national isn’t available to fill the role. Other requirements, such as having the means to support self, to demonstrate one has the right qualifications, education and professional experience along with a proficiency in the German language will remain in effect. This means that the amended regulations that govern the hiring of non-EU workers will only apply to skilled workers with professional experience. We argue that the fears expressed by Polish companies around a mass outflow of Ukrainian workers may prove to have been significantly exaggerated. Whilst there is a likelihood that Poland will become a transit country for Ukrainians on their way to the West – some may opt to move on after having had earned enough money herethis will be a slow process, spread over several years - said Anna Macheta, Development Director at CPC Consulting Group – a LeasingTeam Group company that handles transnational employee secondment to Germany.


Professionals Urgently Needed

Like Germany, Poland too is urgently looking to hire skilled professionals e.g. IT developers, IT systems architects, analysts, AI specialists, robot designers, R&D professionals or digital and e-commerce marketing professionals.


- Employers are going to want to hire people who’ve got experience and proven credentials. Whilst the workforce is becoming increasingly more flexible and it’s not uncommon for people to have backgrounds in several professions, the supply in these areas just can’t meet the existing demand. This is why this industry will continue looking for increasingly more creative ways to recruit candidates and hire people by e.g. forming virtual workteams or digital workplaces that will bring together skilled employees inside an e-workplace. It looks like in the battle for employees, the companies that are able to provide innovative workplaces that foster professional growth will win - says Anna Kurczewska-Formela, Recruitment Director at Professional – a LeasingTeam Group company that deals with permanent recruitment and white collar outsourcing.


The Market Is Making Improved Communication a Priority
With the number of professionals being so limited, getting to candidates fast and enabling them to effectively communicate with recruiters is going to be an advantage when attracting them. The success factors will include effective and swift communication via social media, transparent terms of employment and feedback. The tools that will help recruiters get in touch with candidates faster include instant chat and messenger apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Messenger with their relevance growing from one month to the next also for the recruiter-candidate relationship.


The one trend that will reinforce effective communication with candidates is going to be salary information being provided in job adverts. According to a survey The quality of recruiting processes (Nov-Dec 2018), in which Leasing Team Group had been a partner, as much as 86% of candidates expect to see that kind of information being provided. We feel this trend is going to be the most prominent in temp work, outsourcing and in recruiting for IT, because it fosters a sense of openness when communicating with candidates, speeding up the recruiting process.


Automation, Outsourcing And EB – the Top 3 In 2019

The difficulty with filling vacancies is giving rise to two apparent trends in organizations. On the one hand, companies are looking to automate work, processes and roles, and on the other, they see the need to look after their present employees in a way that will guarantee retention.


The first trend making significant inroads in 2018 sees more jobs being automated or outsourced in order to alleviate the negative impact of unfilled vacancies. For a smaller headcount to be able to cope with a growing workload, it needs advanced digital tools. In the HR market for example, these will be IT systems used to initially screen, segment and compare candidates or activities that utilize social media tools.


The other trend that is considered key for companies in 2019 is driving employee retention, albeit not via raising salaries, but through Employer Branding initiatives. The high cost of recruiting new people and the time needed to onboard them are generating needless expenses that can be alleviated by implementing, within organizations, a thought-through strategy of employee initiatives. By creating a friendly and advanced workplace, by encouraging professional growth and by getting people to engage themselves in building their organization, we are not only making them less inclined to leave but are also generating positive word-of-mouth. As a consequence, candidates will find it easier to apply for jobs and will be more keen to do so.


The organizational culture is extremely important, and this is something we’re seeing every day when recruiting candidates. One perfect example to corroborate this claim comes from one of our FMCG clients with whom we place several hundred temp workers every month. Whilst their salaries are not among the highest in the market, people like to work there and end up staying for the full 18 months. They appreciate the openness of the workforce there, the kindness of the managers, and the fact the rules of cooperation are so clear. That’s why, when working with clients, we do our best to get to know their organizational culture well and then run our recruitment process based on the rules that govern it. This in turn presents a cohesive picture to candidates and translates into successful employment – says Katarzyna Janusz, Operating Director at LeasingTeam, a company that offers temp work, process & function outsourcing services.



The record low unemployment rate, the high number of vacancies, the inflow of workers from increasingly more distant countries in the East, coupled with the opening of Germany’s borders and the chronic shortage of professionals in the job market all mean Polish employers and employment agencies are up against some increasingly more serious challenges.

Whilst new job automation tools are coming out, pressure is increasing on using soft strategies e.g. in communication or Employer Branding. Will the winners be employers who invest in workers from the East, companies that bet on new technologies, or businesses that opt to go all out and look after their current workforce? Or perhaps what will drive success will be a mixed model of parallel growth in all these three areas? It’s going to be another few months before 2019 shows us which trend is the most effective and favorable.