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CEED Institute and Work Service Report: The economic migration of Poles

CEED Institute and Work Service Report: The economic migration of Poles

Improvement on the Polish labour market ends the migration era

Going abroad for work within the next 12 months is now being considered by 14.7% of Poles who are active or potential participants in the labor market. The figure is lower by about 6 p.p. than at the beginning of the year. Still, more than 1 million Poles are determined to emigrate, while 27% are planning to leave on a permanent basis - according to the latest report entitled „The economic migration of Poles", prepared by the Work Service and CEED Institute. The first choice destinations are: Germany (31%), Great Britain (30%) and Norway (10%). Those who are most interested in emigrating abroad are still young people. Every second person under 35 is considering leaving the country.

According to the latest report, „The economic migration of Poles" the number of the prospective emigrants has decreased. Compared with the previous edition of the survey, conducted in March 2015, the percentage of people who definitely do not want to go abroad has increased by 7 percentage points. In addition, the survey results show a decrease in percentage of people who are considering emigration (14.7 % in September vs. 20.7% in March), while fewer people are definitely going to leave Poland (5.3% in September vs. 6.4% in March). This means that around one million Poles are planning economic migration within the next 12 months.

A decrease in people’s interest in emigration may be caused by the improvement of the condition of the Polish labor market. As shown by economic indicators and periodic information published by the Central Office of Statistics (GUS) since the beginning of the year we have been facing a systematic improvement of the situation of workers in Poland. Wage growth should be maintained at 5% y/y, unemployment is likely to reach at the end of September the value of a single-digit figure for the first time in the last 7 years, and labor offices are recording record numbers of new listings. The fact is that we are entering the stage of the market worker. Poles have a greater sense of security about their jobs and hope for further improvement of the working conditions. Hence, there is less willingness to seek professional challenges outside the country - says Thomas Hanczarek, President of Work Service SA.

Length of emigration - one in four permanently
A study shows that one in four Poles considering emigration would like to leave the country permanently (26.8%). Preferences regarding the length of stay abroad differ widely depending on gender. Often men are determined to leave the country for longer, among whom 32.7% (compared to 8.2% for women) and who are considering such a scenario would decide to emigrate for a long term.

Germany attracts like a magnet
For many years, Poles have been chosing the European labor market if they decide to emigrate. In this edition of the survey, Germany is the most preferred destination, which is indicated by 31% of those considering emigration. The second most frequently reported country chosen is the United Kingdom (30%), and on the third place - as in the previous survey - Norway (10%). Germany is actively attracting economic migrants. Just last year, more than 10 000. Poles chose this country for permanent residence, and five times more undertook work there. And this is not the end, because according to the Boston Consulting Group forecasts, in 2020 the German economy will need 2.4 million workers and 10 million already in 2030 - as marked by Tomasz Misiak, President of the Supervisory Board of Work Service SA. He adds: At the same time we see a clear decline in the interest in going to the Netherlands (1%), which a year ago was the third most popular direction chosen by Poles (23%).

Profile of a potential emigrant
More than half of Poles considering emigration are young people under 35 years of age.Among the those declaring their intention to leave nost often are those with the secondary education (44%) and vocational school education (28%). Being employed on contracts for work order or contracts for part-time work those employees account only for 8% of those who are considering emigration. Another large group interested in working abroad is constituted by the unemployed (26%). Every fifth potential emigrant is a resident of the Southern or Eastern Polish region. Villagers most frequently declared their desire to go abroad (46%).

Motives and barriers to emigration
For 84% of those considering working abroad the most important reason is higher earnings. Poles are motivated to emigrate by the prospect of raising the standard of living (41.5%), improving social conditions (31%) and better career development opportunities (38.7%). Equally important is the opportunity to explore the world, which is indicated as a reason by 23.1% of respondents considering working abroad. Among the factors hampering Poles, the first place is occupied by the devotion to family and friends in the country (72.2%). On the second place attractive employment (37.5%) was pointed out, which was indicated by about 7.5 p.p. more people than a year ago. The mass character of work emigration has translated into growing deficits on the Polish labor market. Mainly our young and ambitious people who could bring much value to our economy are leaving the country. It is very important in the light of the fact that we are now in the stage of creation of many new jobs and an increasing demand for employees. Hence it can be hoped that the emigration from the country can be suppressed by the emergence of new recruitment and gradual improvement of the wage conditions - sums up Krzysztof Inglot, Plenipotentiary of Work Service SA.