Expats who consider working in Poland may find that most of their prospects won't offer them the same purchasing power that they might find working in Western Europe, especially as salaries in Poland are some of the lowers on the continent.
In Poland, most jobs require a five-day work week and working hours are generally from 8am to 4pm, although international companies often uphold a 9am to 5pm day. Although the unemployment rate in Poland is no longer an issue, the country has traditionally prioritised the employment of local labour, while neglecting the foreign labour force. However, as one of the only European countries that didn't fall victim to the recent recession, positions have become available in specific sectors.
Job market in Poland
Poland's primary industries include automotive manufacturing, food processing, banking and construction. However, expats working in Poland will most likely find opportunities in areas that have seen recent growth, including IT, finance, human relations, business services and management.
As a huge proportion of the population speaks Polish, there's also a pronounced shortage of native English speakers. As a result, there are still many English teaching jobs in Poland, and in many cases, these positions pay more than a position in a large company with upward mobility.
What's more, foreign investment is filtering into Poland and this influx of capital comes with future plans for corporates and multinationals to set up operations in the country. The country itself is also looking to privatise more infrastructure, like the energy sector, shipbuilding and even the postal market.
That being said, working in Poland as an expat is still not the easiest of tasks. Inefficient local bureaucracy frustrates job creation and can prevent competition. Furthermore, as a result of a history of repeated foreign violation, Polish sentiment toward expat businesspeople can be cautious. In order to succeed, it's vital for expats to build relationships based on trust and respect. The Polish-English language barrier can also be a source of much misunderstanding.
Finding a job in Poland
Citizens of the European Union (EU), as well as the European Economic Area (EEA), do not need a work permit to be legally employed in Poland. All other nationalities are required to have the proper documentation.
If not headhunted for a specific position in Poland, expats can use both print publications and online job portals to find a job in Poland. Daily newspapers, both local and national, have designated job sections. Two popular options are the Monday edition of Gazeta Wyborcza, in its Praca (Work) section, and the Wednesday insert in Rzeczpospolita.
Otherwise, there are some Polish English-speaking recruitment agencies that expats might benefit from contacting directly.
Are you an expat living in Poland?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Poland. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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