In Poland, skills assessment activities are a core element of the Study of Human Capital in Poland (Bilans Kapitału Ludzkiego, BKL). In addition, forecasting and foresight activities are also undertaken. A number of institutional bodies take part in producing data and intelligence for skills anticipation in Poland, such as the Statistics Poland (Główny Urząd Statystyczny, GUS), Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (Polska Agencja Rozwoju Przedsiębiorczości, PARP), the Ministry of Family and Social Policy (Ministerstwo Rodziny i Polityki Społecznej, MRiPS), and the Ministry of Education and Science (Ministerstwo Edukacji i Nauki, MEN).
The aim of skills anticipation in Poland is to support the work of the Public Employment Service (PES) and provide labour market data and intelligence for policymakers at the national, regional and local levels. Results from the skills monitoring activities are also used to inform vocational education and training institutions about skills demand so that they can alter their course provision. Due to the skills shortages and recruitment difficulties that employers experience, their interest in the findings of skills anticipation is reportedly increasing. In the future the aim is to provide jobseekers with more data to inform their employment choices.
There is no legislation in place specifically regulating skills anticipation. The following can be identified as pertinent legislation to skills anticipation.
According to the ‘Act on the Promotion of Employment and Labour Market Institutions’, the obligation to diagnose the demand for skills and qualifications in regional and local labour markets rests with the PES. These assessments are not yet systematic or regular, and they do not always follow a uniform methodology.[i] The Monitoring of deficit and surplus occupations undertaken by regional (at the level of voivodships) employment offices is a task for regional government defined by the ‘Act on the Promotion of Employment and Labour Market Institutions’ (Journal of Laws of 2022, pos. 690, consolidated text).[ii] Monitoring is constantly developed. Until 2019, the Barometer was conducted in parallel to the quantitative survey conducted throughout Poland (pursuant to the provisions of the Act of 20 April 2004 on employment promotion and labour market institutions) called Monitoring of deficit and surplus occupations (MZDiN). By the decision of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy, from 2020, due to their complementarity, these studies have been combined into one joint study called the Occupational Barometer.
The national lifelong learning strategy – ‘Perspective on Lifelong Learning’ – was adopted by the government in 2013. Its implementation was linked to skills anticipation with its operational aims focused on developing a transparent and coherent national qualification system (and providing education and training tailored to economic needs and changes in the labour market. As such, the strategy formed an important element in developing a skills anticipation system.
In 2018 a new VET reform was introduced (Law of November 22, 2018) on the amendment to the Act - Education Law (Ustawa prawo oświatowe; Journal of Law of 2021 pos. 1082 consolidated text with amendments), the Act on the education system and certain other acts. The main aim is to restore the prestige of vocational education by improving its quality and effectiveness. Special emphasis is placed on strengthening the mechanisms of involving employers in the development of VET, particularly in practical vocational training and in the systematic adaptation of VET to labour-market needs. To make this possible, the law introduces a mechanism for forecasting labour market needs, in the form of annual forecasts of the demand for employees in VET occupations. The forecast draws from on various data sources – including data from Statistics Poland, the Education Information System (SIO)[iii], social insurance data and opinions of skills councils. A more detailed list of learning outcomes was introduced in 2019 for all levels and types of education and schools, including VET. The legislator also limited the number of qualifications included in the profession to a maximum two - as a result, most professions, 134 out of 218, are currently single-qualified[iv].
The MRiPS is the key authority overseeing skills anticipation. It works closely with a range of stakeholders, such as the voivodship employment offices, PARP, and several ministries (e.g., MEN). It should be noted that the Ministries and agencies (including the GUS and its relevant analyses) often work independently in a non-coordinated manner.
The role of stakeholders
Several stakeholders are involved in skills anticipation activities, including employers’ organisations, education and VET providers, and the PES (which is required to diagnose needs for skills and qualifications in regional and local labour markets). Labour market policies implemented by public authorities are based on dialogue and cooperation with social partners, in particular the labour market councils, established at a national, regional and local level. Labour market councils are composed of representatives of employers’ organisations, trade unions, and non-governmental organisations. Stakeholders’ involvement in skills anticipation activities includes discussing findings, as well as applying for funding and implementing projects aimed at skills anticipation in different sectors of the economy. A number of stakeholders are involved in the collection, analysis and dissemination of data and intelligence from skills anticipation activities, including ministries, the PES (regional and local offices), employers, and education and VET providers.
Another example of stakeholder coordination in policymaking includes experts from the BKL study participating in advisory roles on employment and education committees, such as the Committee of Scientific Policy (Komitet Polityki Naukowej). The new initiatives, such as the BKL study, Sectoral Skills Councils and the Barometer of Professions (Barometr Zawodów), aim to increase collaboration among relevant institutions in the process of skills monitoring and forecasting.
At regional and local levels, skills anticipation activities are well coordinated, though they rely on imperfect monitoring data.[v] Data and intelligence are disseminated as part of the process of stakeholder engagement that takes place at these levels. Increasingly, methodologies and methods used in skills anticipation at a national level are being shared with, and taken up by, regional stakeholders. Stakeholders also play an important role in sharing methodologies and methods, so activities can be replicated at a regional and local level.
The MRiPS is the main body responsible for skills anticipation, and collaborates with stakeholders through different fora such as intergovernmental task forces, collaborative projects and initiatives, and Social Dialogue Councils (Rady Dialogu Społecznego).[vi] However, there is no structured involvement of stakeholders (particularly the social partners), for example through a committee with decision-making responsibilities on the design/implementation of skills anticipation activities at national level, or the systematic use of relevant intelligence in policymaking. Nonetheless, the role of social partners is more prominent at sectoral level, while the development of the Sectoral Skills Councils can be expected to further strengthen their role at that level.
Where intelligence and data from skills anticipation is gathered, it is widely disseminated and publicly available on the web. It is mainly targeted at regional and local stakeholders who are considered to have the capacity to influence change. Data from national studies, are intended for government ministries, local government, the PES, employers’ organisations, trade unions, universities and research institutes. Anonymised micro-data from the BKL are publicly available so others are able to undertake secondary data analysis.
Funding and resources
Skills anticipation in Poland is undergoing substantial changes designed to improve employment forecasts at national and regional levels. These changes are implemented with significant support from the ESF, which introduced a number of projects described below.
The Monitoring of deficit and surplus professions and occupations (Monitoring zawodów deficytowych i nadwyżkowych, MZDIN) is a statutory task of regional and local government, and is funded by them. In 2019 MZDIN was linked with Barometer of Professions. As of 2020, due to their complementarity, these studies were combined into one joint study called the Barometer of Professions as decided by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy. Barometer of Professions provides information on the poviat level. The study is coordinated by Wojewódzki Urząd Pracy (Voivodship Labour Office) in Kraków. The Barometer of Professions is a qualitative study. It is created separately for each poviat in Poland based on the opinion of experts who meet and jointly analyse the situation in individual professions.
Participants of the survey (employees of poviat labour offices, private employment agencies and other institutions involved in the situation on the local labour market) during the discussion answer the following questions:
- How will the demand for workers in a given profession change in the coming year? Will it increase, decrease or stay the same?
- How will the relationship between the available labour force and the demand for employees in a given occupation develop? Will there be a shortage of job seekers or a surplus, or will demand and supply balance out?
In Poland, skills anticipation activities are funded by the government and the ESF, for example:
- The project, ‘Analysis of processes on the Polish labour market and in the area of social integration in the context of the economic policy’ (Analiza procesów zachodzących na polskim rynku pracy i obszarze integracji społecznej w kontekście prowadzonej polityki gospodarczej), was jointly run by the CRZL and the Institute of Labour and Social Affairs (Instytut Pracy i Spraw Socjalnych, IPiSS) between 2007-2013. In addition, between 2009 and 2014, a new employment forecast tool was developed for employment forecasting. In 2014 employment forecasts to 2022 disaggregated by occupation, sector and region were released. These initiatives received ESF support;[vii]
- The ESF has also provided funding for BKL, which over the period 2010-2015 informed education and training providers on the demand for skills. BKL is co-funded with a second grant also for 2016-2023.
- The Barometer of Professions is funded by the MRiPs and information is disseminated with support from the ESF.
The heavy reliance on European funding raises a question about the sustainability of some of these changes. Some ESF funded developments may be discontinued once the funding comes to an end. For instance, the sustainability of the forecasting tool, the Prognozowanie Zatrudnienia, and the forecasts beyond 2022 remain uncertain. Nonetheless, there is evidence of further integration of activities taking place at national, regional, and local levels.