A hot spring on the job market

Nearly one in three employers in the building and industrial sectors are planning increased employment in the second quarter of the year. In transport and logistics, one in five firms have declared such an intention. On the other hand, very few companies (five out of a 100 on a nationwide scale) are planning layoffs over the coming weeks.

These are the results of a survey carried out by the ManpowerGroup employment agency, which was carried out among 750 companies in January 2017. The net forecast for Q2 is the highest since the start of this decade, amounting to 12 percentage points after seasonal correction taken into account.

Construction workers are in demand

“The forecast predicts good times for candidates who have not had such good employment opportunities for more than six years,” emphasised Iwona Janas, general manager of ManpowerGroup in Poland. She pointed out that in the overwhelming majority of the ten surveyed sectors, increased demand for workers was recorded, with the industrial and construction sectors in the lead. In nearly all of them, firms planning increased employment in Q1 clearly surpassed those expecting to cut employment.

The ManpowerGroup’s forecast confirms the research results of the Work Service and Randstad employment agencies which also revealed optimism among employers ready to increase employment and attract workers by offering competitive salaries. “Spring is approaching and with it the seasonal recruitment boom,” emphasised Andrzej Kubisiak, director of Work Service's analysis team. According to their “Job Market Barometer”, one out of three firms are is planning recruitment in the near future. “That is the highest result in the history of our research and shows that a manpower shortage will soon be looming,” Kubisiak added, focusing on the exceptionally large demand for workers in retail and manufacturing, notably in the automative and household-appliance segments.

Construction is the sector were the recruitment boom is likely to be exceptionally dynamic with the winter road-building break ending on Wednesday. That will additionally increase demand for skilled workers and specialists in a sector bolstered by a positive climate in the commercial and residential real-estate market.

As Open Finance analyst Bartosz Turek points out, over the past 12 months (ending in January this year) a record number of housing-construction permits have been issued. A record number of flats have been put on the market, and a record in the number of construction commencements is not far away. All this points to the building sector and the fitting-out segment having a strong purple patch.

Bonuses for the talented

Łukasz Kozłowski, an expert attached to the Polish Employers Association (Pracodawcy RP), estimates that in the months ahead two overlapping factors will impact the situation on the labour market. The first is the good business climate as attested by January's surprisingly robust employment rise in the enterprise sector (year-on-year it reached 4.5% as against the 2.8% forecast by analysts). Concurrently, there has been a fall in registered unemployment, which according to the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy stood at 8.6% at the end of February, 0.1% less than in January. Kozłowski recalled that a similar situation occurred during the pre-crisis boom in the job market. “It appears that the seasonal fall in joblessness has got under way earlier this year. The spring revival in the job market usually occurs a bit later,” noted the Polish Employers Association expert.

According to Iwona Janas, the changes taking place on the labour market will force employers to confront a growing talent deficit. In order to attract and hold on to workers, companies are investing more in pay and benefits. According to the 2017 Motivational Signpost by Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, last year non-wage benefits per worker increased 11% to PLN 928 compared to 2015.

On average, this year those benefits are expected to exceed PLN 1,000 per worker. Twelve percent of the companies surveyed say they expect to increase their budgets. However, as Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services marketing manager Magdalena Słomczewska-Klimiuk points out, employers are cautious about the declarations they make. This is shown by data for 2016, where only 9% of companies declared an increase in employee benefits, while in actuality twice as many (18%) increased their budgets for that purpose. “Influenced by the situation on the labour market, companies are changing their plans and offering employees an increasingly wide range of benefits,” Słomczewska-Klimiuk said.


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