Labour market information

Print this page

Poland - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


Poland is located between the Baltic Sea in the north and theSudetes and Carpathian Mountains in the south, for the most part in the basin of the Vistula and the Oder. In the north, Poland shares a border with Russia and Lithuania, in the east with Belarus and Ukraine, in the south with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and in the west with Germany. The administrative area of Poland is 312 696 km², which gives it the 69th place in the world and the 9th in Europe.  With almost 38.5 million inhabitants (2018), it ranks 36th in the world in terms of population and 6th in the European Union. Poland is divided into 16 provinces consisting in total of 66 cities with counties’ rights and 314 counties. The largest city and the capital of Poland is Warsaw. Other metropolises include Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin.

Poland is a democratic country with a developed, high-yielding economy and a high quality of life indicator.  Poland is attractive for tourists and fans of active leisure, which is evidenced by the fact that annually Poland is visited by about 17.5 million tourists, which makes it one of the most visited countries in the world The diverse landscape of individual regions of Poland and the possibility to choose different forms of recreation from sea baths, sailing on lakes, to skiing and mountain climbing, attract tourists from distant countries to Poland.

Poland is the eighth largest economy in the European Union and one of the fastest growing economies in Europe.  Poland's 38-million sales market is one of the largest in the European Union. Convenient location in the centre of Europe and at the crossroads of its main communication routes makes it possible to export goods from Poland to all European countries and thus reach over half a billion consumers, Poland's main trading partners include: Germany, Russia, China, France, Great Britain, Italy, Hungary, Ukraine and Spain.

Poland offers foreign companies a number of investment incentives. One of the many possibilities is to locate investments in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ). There are 14 such zones in Poland. These are separate areas intended for conducting business activity on special, preferential terms. SEZs offer attractive tax exemptions, employment opportunities and well-prepared investment areas to new investors.

Poland's attractiveness for investors is attributable to a number of factors:

  • Ambitious and hard-working people – Poland’s biggest asset today are its inhabitants. What stands out is their ambition, motivation to learn, strong work ethic, loyalty and a rare entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Diversification of the economy – diversification of production, service and agricultural enterprises. Finding business partners in sectors such as the automotive industry, aeronautics, IT, food processing, electronics or finance is not a problem.
  • Macroeconomic stability – sound public finances, stability and predictability of the economy encourage long-term investment planning. Poland is the only country in Europe to have avoided the crisis, and public finances are in a much better state than the EU average.
  • High quality of offered products and services – flexibility of entrepreneurs in meeting even the most rigorous quality and industry standards.
  • Infrastructure investments – business opportunities are driven by the modernisation of infrastructure (road and rail transport and energy infrastructure) on an unparalleled scale in Europe.
  • A large internal market and accessibility to the European market – over 38 million consumers in Poland and easy access to the European Union market of 500 million consumers as well as the countries of Eastern Europe

Poland's investment attractiveness is best confirmed by investment data:

  • EUR 176 billion value of direct foreign investment commitments at the end of 2016, according to the National Bank of Poland,
  • Poland was recognized as the fifth most attractive country for foreign direct investments in Europe (after Great Britain, Germany, France and Spain), according to the Ernst and Young report ÌÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŽEuropean Attractiveness Survey 2017ÌÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŽ GDP worth USD 586.02 billion (current prices),
  • GDP economic growth 5.1%, in 2018,
  • Annual inflation + 1.6%, 2018,
  • Exports USD 261.8 billion, 2018,
  • Government debt/GDP 48.9% (as of the end of 2018),
  • Unemployment rate 5.8% (as of the end of 2018)

Poland is also becoming an attractive place to live and work. According to the HSBC Expat Annual League Table report of 2019 Poland is ranked 13th among the destinations for specialists who left their homeland to work abroad. Poland was indicated as a good place to live because of: 'the possibility to fulfil aspirations in terms of career development improvement of private and professional skills', as well as to achieve a balance between professional and private life, the so-called work/life balance.

With the result of 72.2%, Poland belongs to the group of 13 EU-28 Member States which achieved the employment level consistent with the objectives set by the European Commission for 2020.

In 2018, 717 800 new jobs were created in Poland, of which the vast majority (90%) in the private sector. Most new jobs were created in the smallest units, in which up to 9 people worked (43.3%), and the least in units with more than 49 employees (26.8%). The largest number of vacancies was in the case of entities operating in the industrial processing industry – 29.6% of vacancies. A relatively large number of job vacancies was recorded in trade; car repair – 15.2% of job vacancies, construction – 12.5%, as well as transport and warehouse management – 8.4%. In the public sector, the largest number of vacancies out of the total number of 19.3 thousand was reported by entities operating in the field of public administration and national defence; compulsory social security – 29.4% of all vacancies in this sector and health care and social assistance – 26.4%.

According to the LFS (Polish Labour Force Survey), recent years have witnessed a gradual rise in the number of employed persons and, simultaneously, a decline in unemployment in Poland, which has had a beneficial effect on the employment and unemployment rates. In spite of the positive changes, the Polish labour market is still facing some problems. Territorial disparities due to which in certain counties the unemployment rate significantly exceeds the national average can be listed among them. Notably, such counties can be found even in provinces that include large agglomerations, such as the Mazowieckie Province with its SzydÅ‚owiecki County, where the unemployment rate exceeded 24.3% in March 2019, as compared to 1.5% in Warsaw.  At the end of March 2019, the difference between counties with the lowest and highest unemployment rate was 19-fold (the city of PoznaÅ„: 1.3%, SzydÅ‚owiecki County: 24.3%). Some adverse phenomena continue to persist in the Polish labour market, namely its seasonal character, i.e. the increase in unemployment in the months at the beginning and end of the year and the structure of the unemployed registered with labour offices. Over half of all unemployed persons (approx. 53%) have not completed secondary education, almost one in five has no work experience, three out of ten have no professional qualifications and nearly 39% have been registered as unemployed for over a year.  The average duration of unemployment remains high.

The economic activity rate of the population aged 15 and above was 56.3% in 2018 (annual average) and decreased by 0.1% compared to 2017. The employment rate of the population aged 15 and over was 54.2% in 2018 (annual average) and increased by 0.5% compared to 2017. The unemployment rate in Poland (according to the LFS) for people aged 15 and above was 3.8% in 2018 compared 4.9% a year earlier.

The harmonised unemployment rate published by EUROSTAT for March 2019 in Poland stood at 3.7% (for the age group 15-74) compared with 6.4% in the EU(28). The rate of unemployment registered (at labour offices) at the end of March 2019 was 5.9%, i.e. lower by 0.7% as compared to the previous year. It should be emphasised that the unemployment rate in March 2019 was the lowest of all rates recorded for the month of March in the past 28 years. Therefore, bearing in mind the positive developments, the forecasts are also optimistic.

The drop in the unemployment rate is the result of a systematic decline in the number of unemployed persons registered at labour offices. In 2017, it decreased by 19%, and in 2018 by 10.4%. The number of unemployed persons registered with labour offices at the end of 2018 was 968.9 thousand and was lower by 112.9 thousand than in the corresponding period of 2017. At the end of 2018, the share of women in the total number of unemployed persons registered with labour offices was 56%, while that of men was 44%. The main reasons for the decline in unemployment are: a still high number of job offers available at labour offices and a significant number of unemployed persons returning to work. At the end of March 2019, there were 984.7 thousand unemployed persons registered with labour offices, representing a decrease of 107.4 thousand (9,8%) compared to March 2018.


Text last edited on: 10/2019

Are you satisfied with the information provided on this page?