Salaries rose proportionately more in less skilled manual jobs, while skilled workers on average bring home less pay, Statistics Poland data quoted by Rzeczpospolita suggests, as the debate on the effects of raising the minimum wage rages.
Poland has so far avoided the second wave of “lockdown lite” being experienced in other countries and the economy has been slowly getting back to normal. However, the recovery is not an even one, as an article in Rzeczpospolita suggests, and COVID-19 is not the only reason for a change in the employment structure. Meanwhile, economists believe that raising the minimum wage by PLN 200 (EUR 44) further in 2021 may help modernise the economy and should not affect employment too much.
New positions are opening up in the telecommunications and IT industry, where employment has grown by 3.3 percent over the past 12 months, as the digital economy has benefitted from home working, according to Statistics Poland data.
Demand for drivers for both courier companies and hauliers is also keen and the number of people employed has also grown - by 3.4 percent. Waste management, where there are 4.1 percent more employees than last year has also grown in order to cope with new sorting and recycling regulations.
On the other end of the scale, however, clothes manufacturers have reduced employment by 9.4 percent, as demand has dropped. With people spending more time at home the numbers employed in office cleaning and security have dropped 5.5 percent. Less mobility has also affected the car service and parts industry, which now employs 5.1 percent fewer people.
Salary growth was also uneven in various sectors. Top line pay in industry by 2.5 percent and in the construction industry by 3.6 percent. However, there were also sectors where the average salary fell. In the printing industry salaries fell as much as 7.2 percent. The average miner earned 6.2 percent, while in the pharmaceutical production industry the average wage fell by 5.9 percent.
It is no surprise that wages rose fastest in the catering industry as waiting staff are among those earning the minimum monthly salary, which rose by 16 percent last year to PLN 2,600 (EUR 570). A further rise in the minimum salary to PLN 2800 (EUR 614).
Many employers have voiced anxiety that a further increase in the minimum wage, earned at present by around 1.5 mln people in Poland, will lead to job losses. However, more than two thirds of a group of 37 economists surveyed by Rzeczpospolita did not share that view.
Professor Witold Orłowski of the Vistula Finance Academy feared that there would be little difference in employment in larger firms, but that it may force smaller companies to pay their staff under the counter.
PM Mateusz Morawiecki has said that raising the minimum wage will speed up the recovery and drive modernisation in the economy. Only 11 percent of those polled agreed with the first statement, while 32 percent agreed that it would modernise the economy.