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PolandPoland: Job market



What are my chances of getting a job?

Poland is a gateway to Eastern Europe, opening up new markets and offering opportunities not only for its citizens, but also for the other EU newcomers.

  • Typical problems encountered: Unemployment amongst young people is a serious problem in Polish society. Finding a job directly after graduation is not easy. A lot of graduates, even from the best universities, have difficulties in finding a good job. Graduates have to work part-time or temporarily and do not have a strong chance to start a career in finance, banking or accountancy sectors. A lot of Polish graduates come to the UK to work in pubs or restaurants, as they get a better salary.
  • How to improve your chances: Polish graduates are usually a bit older than those in the UK and are 24 or 25 when they begin to work. Many undertake a Masters after completing an initial degree. To improve your chances of getting a good job, try to improve your qualifications and experience. There is work for people with knowledge of foreign languages, logistics, direct marketing, telecommunications and/or computer science, particularly for specialists able to program networks. The employers in this sector are willing to recruit anyone regardless of nationality. There are opportunities for senior level people with foreign language, equipped with IT skills and an understanding of EU regulations.
  • Language requirements: Polish is spoken by 98% of the population. English and German are the most commonly spoken foreign languages, although neither language is by any means commonly spoken or understood. English is spoken more among business, professional and academic communities and the younger generation. German is spoken more by the older generation.

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Where I can work?

  • Major industries: beverages, food processing, chemicals, banking, construction and telecommunication services.
  • Recent growth areas: IT, finance, business services, management, transportation services, education, banking and tourism.
  • Industries in decline: agriculture, mining, textiles and metalwork.
  • Shortage occupations: native English speakers, sales representatives and skilled workers.
  • Major companies: Opel Polska, Poznan Volkswagen, GlaxoSmithKline Poland, Toyota Polska, CitiGroup Polska, Novartis, ING Bank Slaski, Nordea Bank Polska and Fiat Poland.
  • Search for more companies: The Eurograduate - The European Graduate Career Guide website has a list of international companies with links to Poland. Kompass is a worldwide business directory searchable by country and product/service. The list of members on the British Polish Chamber of Commerce website is useful for speculative applications.
  • Major cities: Warsaw (capital and largest), Krakow (second largest), Lodz, Wrocław Gdansk and Poznan.

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What is it like working in Poland?

  • Average working hours: Working hours should not exceed eight hours per day, or an average of 40 hours per five-day working week. Official working hours are from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, however many international companies that employ foreign staff work 9am to 5pm.
  • Holidays: Employees who have worked for a year or more are entitled to at least 20 days paid annual leave.
  • Average graduate starting salary: The graduate starting salary is PLN 33,360 (about £7,000)
  • Tax rates: Poland's taxation of an individual's income is progressive. The 2008 personal income tax (PIT) rate is between 19-40%. Personal income tax is paid both by Poland’s citizens and by foreigners. A foreign resident who is employed in Poland pays tax only on income earned in Poland.
  • Working practices and customs: Punctuality is vital for establishing your reliability. Women are strongly represented in the labour market. It is customary for a Western businessman to kiss the hand of a female Polish colleague. Maintain direct eye contact during conversation. Periods of silence during conversations are not unusual. Do not try to fill the silence with unnecessary talk. Avoid conversations of politics and money. In most Polish companies (excluding banks and consulting firms), executives wear casual and conservative clothes. If you work in an international company, you will need to wear a business suit.

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What are the next steps?


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Written by higher education careers professionals

Date:  Autumn 2008 

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