Poland looks east to plug manpower gap

Speaking of the Warsaw logistics company he manages, the entrepreneur tells AFP: "Right now we mostly take on Ukrainians and some Belarussians."

Poland looks east to plug manpower gap

World Bulletin / News Desk

From behind the wheel of his new Mercedes, a Polish entrepreneur eyes the bus in front of him. It features an ad from an employment agency boasting "Builders, welders: workers from Ukraine and Bangladesh".

"We practically no longer have Poles. They're all working in Germany or Britain," he said on condition of anonymity.

Demographers believe the situation will only get worse, posing a threat to Poland's continuous streak of economic growth since the fall of communism in 1989.

The current child-rearing generation is having only half the number of children than those born in the post-WWII baby boom.

Combined with the exodus of skilled workers to Western Europe, where salaries are higher, the result is that a labour shortage looms.

According to official forecasts, by 2030 one in five jobs will be vacant.

Poland's economy will need 20 million workers at a time when the working age population will be down to 16 million people.

The agricultural sector, at least, is not short on workers, who work on millions of small farms and are more numerous than their French or German counterparts.

But shifting some of those workers away to other sectors will not be enough to solve the manpower problem elsewhere.

Nor can the hole be plugged by hiring the jobless -- the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent last month. And encouraging older workers to stay on past retirement age won't be a solution for all jobs.

Last Mod: 29 Nisan 2018, 11:20
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