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Labor market – the changing pressure of challenges: outlook for 2024

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Labor market – the changing pressure of challenges: outlook for 2024

One of the key challenges for the future and development of the Polish economy is the aging population, the growing shortage of specialists and, as a result, the inevitable need to open the labor market to skilled workers from different parts of the world. A report published by the Social Insurance Institution “Foreigners in the Polish Social Security System” presents an analysis that indicates that it is necessary to admit about 2,750,000 immigrants over the next 10 years[1].

Of course, it is possible to spin visions in which AI will replace all the missing workers in Poland and with one click of the proverbial “mouse” erase the list of missing specialists, whose successors will appear, as it were, in the “cloud” and each of us will have access to them. Only that, at least in the foreseeable future, this is unlikely.

Therefore, it is better to focus on more traditional methods of analyzing and solving problems. Let’s start with the “Barometer of occupations 2024” commissioned by the Minister of Family and Social Policy. This year, as many as 31 occupations already have a “deficit” status are hundreds of thousands of jobs. There is a shortage of roofers, welders, carpenters and mechanics, as well as medical professionals (doctors, midwives, physiotherapists) and those involved in care and education: teachers of all levels, caregivers for the elderly, psychologists and psychotherapists, and cooks, for example.

At the same time, we continue to move in the here and now. We don’t even get into the yet to be defined area of skills and competencies that we call the “professions of the future”. Yes, we know that the key here will be widely perceived and understood digital literacy.

The Pracuj.pl study “Career in the digital world: the dynamic evolution of the labor market” shows that up to 60% of Poles are aware that the ability to work with various technologies is the key to finding a new job in the future or even keeping the one they already have. As many as 35% are already worried about the rise of artificial intelligence and its impact on jobs[2].

GUS points to a solution and ZUS says it looks good

According to the CSO, foreigners in the past 2023, already accounted for 6.5 percent of those working in Poland (1.3 percentage points more than at the beginning of 2022). About 40 percent of them worked in our country on civil law contracts, which are used by a large part of smaller employment agencies that attract foreign workers to Poland. The foreign workers represented 150 different countries. Ukrainians are the largest group of foreign workers (690,800 last July), although their share of the total number of foreigners in the Polish labor market has declined to just over 69 percent, or 4 percentage points, since the beginning of 2022.The share of other nations, however, is growing, with Belarusians (11.3 percent), Georgians, Indians, Moldovans and Russians (a total of 7 percent) becoming increasingly important. However, since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, workers from the Philippines, Uzbekistan, and South America have also increased.

According to the latest data of the Social Insurance Institution, at the end of November there were 1.35 million foreigners registered with the institution, among whom the share of Ukrainians decreased to 67.5 percent. It is worth noting that only 16% of temporary workers from Ukraine are already planning to move to another country[3].

Even the NBP has its say

A report published by the NBP in the first days of January, summarizing a survey conducted in the summer of 2023, showed similar results. According to it, the process of refugees becoming independent is progressing, with more and more (68 percent) renting an apartment on their own. According to the report, pre-war migrants can be considered to a large extent as settlement migrants – 61 percent of them (although 7 percentage points less than in the fall of 2022) declare that they will stay in Poland permanently or for more than one year. Among refugees, on the other hand, 39 percent of NBP respondents have such plans.

Poland is depopulating, and this affects the situation of our country’s pension system. According to ZUS, more than two million foreigners would have to come to the Vistula in the coming years to avoid a bad scenario. However, this does not mean that labor migrants will completely solve the problem of future pensions of Poles. Foreigners coming to Poland may improve the demographic situation to some extent, but they will not stop the unfavorable trends related to the aging of the population, says the ZUS report “Foreigners in the Polish Social Security System”.

The outlook for 2024 is a theme that we will systematically return to. In the following articles we will write about reskilling or the great skills reset, we will not forget the topics of nearshoring or friendshoring, AI in industry, and the opportunities and threats of robotization and automation. We will look at the economic consequences of war, as well as the industrial strategy of the defense sector in the EU and its possible implications for Poland. 

[1] https://www.magazynrekruter.pl/czy-polski-rynek-pracy-potrzebuje-imigrantow/

[2] https://media.pracuj.pl/249953-polacy-o-cyfrowych-kompetencjach-w-pracy-i-rekrutacji

[3] https://managerplus.pl/obywatele-ukrainy-przeczekuja-w-polsce-i-nie-spieszy-im-sie-na-zachod-90766

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