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Poland: Economic growth is not enough to increase employment

Wzrost gospodarczy nie wystarczy, aby zwiększyć zatrudnienie

Not a lack of economic growth, but rather a lack of people in the labour market could hold back employment in Poland over the next decade.

According to forecasts produced by Cedefop, employment in Poland is expected to be slightly lower in 2025 than it is today (Figure 1). In contrast, in the EU overall, employment is expected to rise to its highest levels over the next 10 years.

Figure 1. Past and forecast employment, Poland (millions)

Source: Cedefop skills forecasts (2015).

There will be job opportunities due to newly created jobs or vacancies to replace people going to other jobs or leaving the labour market. In Poland, between now and 2025, job growth is forecast for the distribution and transport sector and in business and other services. Construction is also expected to see a small increase in jobs. Demand is expected to be high for high-level professional occupations in science, engineering healthcare, business and teaching, but also for service and sales workers.

To meet demand Poland will have a more highly-qualified workforce. By 2020, around 67% of 30 to 34 year olds in Poland should have high-level qualifications, well above the EU’s target of 40%. The problem is that labour market participation - the proportion of people of working age either working or looking for work - in Poland is forecast to remain between 53% and 52% over the next decade, compared to 55.5% for the EU.

One reason is that Poland’s population is getting older (Figure 2). As the labour force ages, more people leave it to retire. Between now and 2025, there will be a significant fall in numbers of people aged between 15 and 39 participating in the labour market. But it also implies that significant numbers of people of working age are outside the labour market for reasons, such as family responsibilities, illness or disability, or because they have given up hope of finding a job. To increase employment levels, as well as economic growth, Poland needs to find ways, including training, to bring these people, many of them well-qualified, into its labour force. 

Figure 2. Changes in working-age population and labour force by age, 2013-25, Poland (%)

Source: Cedefop skills forecasts (2015).

Notes to editors

  • Cedefop skill supply and demand forecasts up to 2025 take account of global economic developments up to October 2014. Forecasts assume a modest economic recovery will slowly increase confidence in the EU, leading to higher investment, consumer spending and exports. Inflation stays in target range and interest rates low, while higher tax revenues help governments reduce debt. Assumptions reflect the latest Eurostat population forecast (Europop 2013) and the European Commission’s short-term macroeconomic forecast (November 2014).
  • Cedefop’s forecasts cover 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Results, assumptions and methodology are regularly updated and reviewed by national experts. Forecasts use harmonised data and methodology to allow cross-country comparisons and do not substitute national forecasts. Employment data correspond to those reported in national accounts.

Forecasts for the EU and each Member State are available here.

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Press Release Details

08/10/2015