Poland: Working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Job quality,
  • Published on: 19 December 2013



About
Country:
Poland
Author:
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

Working people in the age group 15 – 30 make up a significant share of Poland’s working population. Their working conditions are not, however, central in the policy debate, which is focused on whether they have any jobs at all. Meanwhile, the data gathered shows that their pay is significantly lower; that they are injured in occupational accidents just as often as other age groups and are rather frequently absent from work due to their own illness. They are often employed on temporary contracts. However, the higher the level of their education, the better their situation.

Introduction

This EWCO CAR is specifically focused on the group of “young entrants to the labour market”. This group includes all young people (between 15 and 30 years old) who have recently entered into the labour market (i.e., people with a work experience shorter than 1-2 years in the labour market), with relative independence of their age and for whom work is their main and core activity. This definition excludes young people for whom studies are their main activity but who combine their studies with some remunerated activity as part of their training programmes (e.g. apprenticeships in dual systems), as well as unemployed young people, even if they are actively looking for a job (see Background note for more detailed information on the concept of young entrants to be considered in the research).

The CAR coordinating team is conscious that such as “narrow” definition of “young entrants to the labour market” can make difficult the identification and collection of relevant information on the topic. Therefore, and in the case no national information is available using this “narrow” definition, National Correspondents can use a “proxy” definition of “young entrant to the labour market” as any young person (i.e. between 15 and 30 years old) who is in employment, irrespectively of the number of years of experience that he/she has in the labour market (again, unemployed young people are excluded from the analysis).

The questionnaire focuses on the following topics:

  • General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups (around 700 words)

  • Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country (around 600 words)

  • Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis (around 500 words)

  • Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market (around 500 words)

  • Final commentary on the main results (around 100 words)

Block 1: General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups

NCs are kindly requested to provide the most updated information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national research/studies) on a number of working conditions-related variables specifically related to young entrants to the labour market in comparison to other age groups. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified in relation to other age groups, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

Suggested extension of this section: around 700 words

Data from the Central Statistical Office in Poland (GUS) in 2009 reported, that working persons in the age group 15 – 29 made up 35.8% of the overall labour resources in Poland.

1.1 Career and employment security issues

Pay level: GUS reports that persons whose work seniority is less than 1.9 years earn 69.6% of the average salary (data for 2010). This makes them the most disadvantaged group in the general working population.

Table 1: Salary level (as % of average salary) by work seniority

Work seniority

Average gross salary per month

PLN 3543.5 (ca EUR 885) = 100%

1.9 years or less

69.6%

2.0 – 4.9 years

84%

5.0 – 9.9 years

98.1%

10 – 14.9 years

108.2%

15 – 19.9 years

109%

20 years and more

105%

Source: GUS 2012, Structure of wages and salaries by occupations in October 2010 (in Polish)

Data from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) reports even lower pay levels for young entrants to the labour market. The first salary of a person employed for the first time is on average PLN 1,818 gross/month (ca. EUR 455) while the median is PLN 1,530 gross/month (ca. EUR 383), which is in the 2nd and 3rd decile of pay levels (band of income) in the general population (Boni M., Szafraniec K, 2011, Youth 2011, in Polish).

An analysis of careers of young labour market entrants (based on ZUS data) shows that 30% of people employed for the first time, in the first month of employment earned the minimum wage or less than minimum wage (among all employed persons it was no more than 20%). Earning less than minimum wage was possible, for example when they worked part time. The biggest differences, however, are observed with regard to higher deciles of pay levels. In the group of people employed for the first time, the 7th decile is reached by as many as every fourth person in the general population. Top income of 10% of young entrants to the labour market is earned by 40% of the general population. The authors of the report Youth 2011 conclude that this data suggests two things: less experience of young entrants to the labour market and unwillingness of employers to “overpay” employees in their first job.

1.2 Skills development

No data identified on young entrants to the labour market in comparison to other age groups in relation to skills development issues.

1.3 Health and well being

Occupational accidents: Young entrants to the labour market make up 24.3% of persons who experienced occupational accidents, as reported by GUS in Accidents at work in 2012 (in Polish). The age group 20-29 years old had the second largest share on the accidents at work (23.66%), after workers 30 – 39 years of age, who made up 26.83% of the injured population.

Table 2: Persons injured in occupational accidents in 2012 according to age group

Age

Number

Percentage

15 - 18
19 – 19
20 - 29
30 – 39

26.83

40 – 49

22.90

50 – 54

12.18

55 – 59

10.43

60 – 64

2.90

65 and more

0.44

Total

Source: GUS 2013, Accidents at work in 2012

Absenteeism at work: data from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) is available for the age group “19 and less – 29”, but we can assume it includes people not younger than 15. In 2011, young entrants to the labour market made up 23.5% of all people absent from work due to their own illness. Their level of absenteeism was on a par with the value for employees aged 50 – 59, an age group known to suffer from more and more severe health conditions. The level of absenteeism due to own illness among young entrants to the labour market, therefore, seems to be relatively high.

Chart 1: Absenteeism at work due to own illness of employees insured in the Social Insurance Institution in 2011 by age


Source: ZUS 2012, Absenteeism at work due to illness (in Polish)

Work in hazardous conditions: data on work in hazardous conditions is not provided in division

by age groups in official statistics, therefore there is no data to be reported.

In terms of health, young entrants to the labour market make a presence in the group of employees who report long-standing health condition that limit the number of working hours they can work. Employees aged 15 – 29 make up 7.9% of the population of employees whose working hours have to be limited due to health condition. When looking at specific reasons, they make 7.6% of the population that reports health conditions and diseases; 2.6% of the population that reports activity difficulty and 8.3% of the population that reports both health condition/disease and activity difficulty as main factors limiting the number of hours they can work. (GUS 2013, Employment of disabled persons 2011, in Polish)

Travelling to work is another aspect connected to well-being at work. Although data by age is presented very selectively, a GUS report informs that young entrants travel to work relatively more often than other age groups. For example, almost three quarters of employees aged 25 – 29 travelled to work. Travelling to work in the cited research report (Labour Force Survey), was understood broadly, as any form of travelling to work, at any distance and by any form of transportation.

Table 3: Travelling to work: employees by age

Age groups

In employment total

Travelling to work

Not travelling to work

Working at home

Work outside the office

In thousands

In %

Total

15961

100.0

64.5

16.9

12.1

6.5

15–19

135

100.0

54.8

20.0

20.7

4.4

20–24

1199

100.0

71.5

15.7

7.4

5.5

25–29

2317

100.0

72.2

14.8

6.6

6.4

30–34

2386

100.0

70.3

14.5

8.3

7.0

35–44

4044

4044

65.0

16.1

11.9

7.1

45–54

3927

100.0

59.2

20.1

14.5

6.2

55–59

1289

100.0

58.0

20.2

15.5

6.2

60–64

422

100.0

53.3

16.4

23.2

7.1

65 +

242

100.0

37.6

12.4

45.9

4.1

Source: GUS 2011, Travelling to work in 2010 based on Labour Force Survey (in Polish)

1.4 Reconciliation of working and non-working life

In terms of working time arrangements no significant differences are reported between young entrants to the labour market and other age groups. GUS data from 2010 shows, for example, that fixed start and end of working day or varying working time as decided by employers is reported for 87.5% of the general population and for 88.2% of young entrants to the labour market (age 15 – 29). Having the possibility to vary start and/or end of the working day for family reasons is reported by 21.2% of all employees in the Polish economy and 21.3% of employees aged 15 – 29. Among those who have the possibility to, for family reasons, vary start and/or end of the working day only under special circumstances are 38.3% of all employees and 37.9% of employees aged 15 – 29. Employees who cannot vary start and or/ end of the working day for family reasons make 40.5% of the working population and 40.8% of employees aged 15 – 29. (GUS 2012, Reconciliation between work and family life in 2010. ).

Block 2: Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country

NCs are kindly requested to provide the most updated information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national researches/studies) on differences of working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market, for a series of variables. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

Suggested extension of this section: around 600 words

2.1 Personal characteristics of young entrants

Data from 2009 shows that vast majority (87%) of young entrants to the labour market are paid employees. Almost 10% work on their own account, of which 2% even hire other people. Unpaid family workers make up 4% of this group.

The contrast between permanent vs. temporary employment contracts seems to reflect the problems of young entrants to the labour market much better, than, for example, contrast between full time and part time jobs. As many as 52% work on temporary contracts, including 47% full time and 5% part time. 38% have permanent contracts, including 36% full time and only 2% part time.

Chart 2: Employed persons aged 15 – 29 by employment status in the main job


Source: own calculation based on GUS 2011, Entry of young people into the labour market in Poland in 2009 (in Polish)

Chart 3: Persons aged 15 – 29 who after completing/leaving formal education had a job for more than 3 months by character of that first job


Source: own calculation based on GUS 2011, Entry of young people into the labour market in Poland in 2009 (in Polish)

Research conducted by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) and the Jagiellonian University (UJ) shows, that the higher the education level, the more likely it is for a school graduate to be employed on an employment contract regulated by the labour law. In the population of those who graduated from any school within the past 5 years (most of the interviewees were aged 18 – 30), 59% work or have worked on an employment contract. The number for people with a degree in engineering, in that population, is however as high as 84%, it is 79% for someone with a Master’s degree and only 13% for someone who graduated from a primary school or a lower secondary school (‘gymnasium’). It is worth noting that graduating from a vocational school makes one more likely to find a job offering an employment contract (53%) than graduating from a general upper secondary school (the equivalent of American high school), (34%).

When asked about forms of atypical employment within the last 12 months, 7% of the graduates from the past 5 years indicated that they had no contract at all. The number doubled for those with primary or lower secondary school (gymansium) education only (14%). It also made a presence among those with tertiary education: 4 % for people with Engineering or Masters degrees.

Civil contracts were reported by 13% of graduates of the past 5 years, with numbers being relatively high (18% and 20%) for persons with Bachelor or Masters degree. Since employment is, however, a popular form of work in these groups, we may assume that many graduates employed on civil law contracts treated them as additional or in-between jobs (for differences between civil law contracts and other forms of contracts: PL0210109F).

Table 4: Forms of employment of persons who completed any form of education within the last 5 years and who are currently in work (their age range is approximately 18 – 30). Differences by education level.
 

School leavers currently working

All school leavers

Type of school graduated from

N

Employment (%)

Own company (%)

N

Employment

Own company

Civil contract

No contract

Internship

Abroad

.

Now or in the past

.

During the past 12 months

Lower secondary school (gymansium) or lless

21

43

-

116

13

-

8

14

16

2

Vocational school

103

83

3

219

53

2

6

8

25

6

General upper secondary school

93

68

7

261

34

3

13

7

8

4

Technical secondary school

179

77

12

310

55

8

8

7

21

7

Other secondary education

67

81

10

122

67

6

12

9

25

2

Bachelor

122

75

9

172

70

7

20

8

28

7

Maste

R’s

412

80

14

515

79

14

18

4

21

5

Engineer

61

82

23

69

84

29

7

4

14

0

Total:

1058

77

11

1784

59

8

13

7

20

5

Source: Górniak J. 2012, Competencies as the key to the development of Poland (in Polish)

When graduates of the last 5 years who are currently employed on employment contracts, were asked about their satisfaction at work, three quarters said that they are generally satisfied. The two highest scoring factors for which they liked their jobs were the work itself (84%) and working conditions (82%.). The least attractive factor of work were the opportunities for advancement/promotion (only 46%) as well as opportunities for development and pay (61%). This suggests that even though day-to-day organization of work is good, mid and long term perspectives for professional growth are limited, or at least perceived as limited.

Table 5: Satisfaction at work of persons who completed any form of education within the last 5 years (their age range is approximately18 – 30) and who are currently employed on employment contracts. Differences by

Type of school graduated from

Pay

Promotion opportunities

Work conditions

Employment security

Opportunities for development

Work conducted

General satisfaction

N

Lower secondary (gymansium) or less

47%

37%

68%

47%

25%

74%

47%

19

Vocational school

60%

39%

77%

68%

52%

80%

74%

206

General upper secondary school

61%

43%

78%

60%

49%

81%

73%

151

Technical secondary school

64%

39%

78%

68%

52%

82%

75%

304

Other secondary education

60%

44%

79%

75%

57%

81%

69%

134

Bachelor

55%

48%

81%

73%

61%

83%

73%

212

Master’s

61%

52%

88%

77%

72%

88%

80%

653

Engineer

61%

48%

82%

74%

69%

79%

73%

99

TOTAL:

61%

46%

82%

72%

61%

84%

75%

1778

Source: Górniak J. 2012, Competencies as the key to the development of Poland (in Polish)

A look at career moves among working school leavers of the past five years shows, that the longer they are on the labour market, the less often they look for new opportunities. Those with college or university degrees generally look for new jobs (while in work) more often than those with lower levels of education. This suggests that the first one or two years are the time of particularly dynamic changes in people’s career.

Primary

Secondary

Tertiary

Total

 Number of years since graduation

Source: Górniak J. 2012, Competencies as the key to the development of Poland (in Polish)

2.2 Occupational characteristics

Sectoral differences and pay level: Situation of people with 1.9 years of work seniority or less is slightly worse in the public sector, where they make 67.7% of the average salary for that sector, than in the private sector where they make 72% of the average salary for that sector (Source: GUS 2012, Structure of wages and salaries by occupations in October 2010)

Industries that offer best salaries to young people (data for age group 20 – 29) are IT and telecommunications (almost EUR 1,000 gross/month), insurance and banking sector (almost EUR 875 gross/month) as well as branches connected to heavy industry (above EUR 750 gross/month) (Boni, Szafraniec, Młodzi 2011).

Regional differences and pay level: ZUS data shows that pay levels for young entrants are higher in cities than in rural areas. The average difference between the first income between urban and rural labour markets is PLN 200 (around EUR 50).

Table 6: Comparison of the level of first salary in urban and rural poviats in 2008
 

Average salary

Median salary

Average age

Percentage share

Urban poviats
  • 447.6

  • 400

Rural poviats
  • 377

  • 400

Source: Boni M., Szfraniec K., 2011, Youth 2011

Work seniority and pay level: ZUS data also shows that, on average, it takes 7 years from starting one’s first job, to overcome the status of having a low-paid job.

Chart 5 : Evolution of decile of income in the course of one’s career


Source: Boni M., Szafraniec K, 2011, Youth 2011

Block 3: Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis

NCs are kindly requested to provide information on the following items: NCs are kindly requested to provide information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national researches/studies) on differences of working conditions amongst the group of young entrants to the labour market in comparison to the situation five years ago. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

Suggested extension of this section: around 500 words

3.1 Please provide information on the evolution of working conditions of young labour entrants in the last five years. Have working conditions of this group improved/deteriorated in comparison to the existing situation five years ago (before the economic crisis began)? What are the reasons for these changes

There is hardly any data presenting change over time in working conditions of workers aged 15 – 30. Different sources suggest that temporary employment contracts and civil law contracts are the most problematic issues with regard to working conditions of young entrants to the labour market (Report Youth 2011, views expressed by experts in the media etc). Eurostat data shows that in the age group 15 – 24, the number of temporary employees as percentage of the total number of employees in Poland rose from 62% to 65.6% between 2009 and 2011.

An analysis of Labour Force Survey Data (PL1109019I) shows that in 2009 Poland had the highest percentage of temporary employment contracts among EU Member States. In the age group 15–24, which has the highest percentage in all Member States, Poland (62.0%) was only second to Slovenia (66.6%). At the same time, however, the analysis shows that in Poland the percentage of temporary employment contracts remains significantly high across all age groups.

Data from the National Labour Inspectorate (PIP) only reports for the general population (the data is not broken down into specific age groups). It is worth mentioning, however, that in 2008, 15.5% of working Poles worked on the basis of civil-law contracts, in 2009 it was 18.6%, whereas in 2010 as much as 21% of the whole working population. At that time, the number of entities where civil-law contracts were concluded, including contracts to perform a specific task concluded in a situation where an employment contract should have been concluded, increased by 13%. In its reports for 2010 and 2011 (the data for 2012 is not available yet), PIP also points out that employers use forced self-employment (PIP does not say, however, how big the scale of this phenomenon is), which may resemble the process of labour outsourcing. Although it is not justified to conclude that since the number of civil law contracts is rising with time in the general population, it is also rising in the group of young entrants, but it seems very likely.

3.2 Based on possible existing prospective studies, please provide information on the expected evolution of employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants in your country in the near future (coming 2-3 years)

No relevant prospective studies relating to young entrants to the labour market or their working conditions identified.

Block 4: Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

Suggested extension of this section: around 500 words

4.1 Identify main recent national measures/initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by public authorities in order to improve employment opportunities and working conditions for young entrants to the labour market.

4.1.1. Youth in the Labour Market

Youth in the Labour Market is the most significant and a versatile programme designed by the Polish government to stimulate the employability of people aged 15 – 30. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MPiPS) is the body responsible for the programme. The programme is currently in the pilot phase, which started in 2012 and will end in 2014. Depending on how the programme is evaluated and depending on whether funding in the state-budget will be guaranteed, the programme will be introduced as of 2015 and it is to become a permanent policy (no end date is foreseen).

The goal of the programme is to create mechanisms of support for young entrants to the labour market, especially graduates. Specific objectives of the programme are:

  • to test a new approach of providing the service to young entrants;

  • to introduce new employment measures for young entrants;

  • to improve the functioning of existing employment measures aimed at young entrants, such as Academic Career Centres, Voluntary Labour Corps; improving access to information regarding employment opportunities in public sector institutions.

Support offered:

  • Individualising the approach to all persons under 30 who are economically active, but not employed. Every person who registers in the local labour office is to have his/her personal counsellor in the labour office, who will guide him/her in preparing an individual plan of action and all activities that are to follow until the young entrant finds employment.

  • Financing 6 measures dedicated to all persons under 30 who are registered at the local labour office:

  • educational token (voucher) for any type of training the participant of the programme finds for him/herself (excluding language courses or drivers licence courses);

  • token for postgraduate studies for graduates of tertiary education,

  • token for vocational and post-secondary school education for people under 30 with primary or secondary education only,

  • token that almost entirely finances a 6 months internship (the young entrant to the labour market has to find the internship him/herself);

  • for employers allowing them a refund of all employment costs of all employees under 30 in the first 12 months of employment;

  • for settlement or, in other words, reimbursement of costs of relocation for a person under 30 who found a job outside their current place of residence.

  • Intensifying cooperation of various institutions at different organizational levels (central and local government, labour offices, Voluntary Labour Corps etc) and focusing their actions more on active labour market policies for people below 30.

Target groups:

The target group of the pilot programme includes all people below the age of 30 who registered in the local labour office for the first time maximum 6 months before the pilot programme was introduced.

Outcomes:

The pilot version of Youth in the Labour Market programme will be evaluated in 2014.

It is worth mentioning that the aspect of quality of jobs and working conditions for young entrants to the labour market is not present in the programme Youth in the Labour Market, at least not in a direct way. Indirectly, the programme focuses on factors that generally improve the working conditions. For example, it aims at granting employment contracts rather than civil law contracts to young entrants and it supports skills development.

4.2 Identify main recent initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by social partners (either at national, sector or company level) in order to improve working conditions amongst young entrants to the labour market.

No specific programmes identified.

Trade unions, in general, address issues of fixed-term and civil law contracts as prevailing forms of employment among youth. When the anti-crisis legislation was discussed in Poland in 2009, trade union leaders expressed their concern about the situation of young people on the labour market (PL0909019I)

Employer associations also address the issues of young people in the labour market. They highlight structural barriers to employment of the young, especially the need of adjusting students’ skills to market needs. Business Centre Club and PKPP Lewiatan regularly organize seminars and training courses on such issues as well as on and entrepreneurship among young people and increasing their chances in recruitment processes. The Youth Forum of PKPP Lewiatan (Forum Młodych PKPP Lewiatan) has a number of projects aiming to promote starting a business. These initiatives, however, are addressed to college/university students and graduates. There is also regular cooperation between two PKPP Lewiatan members, Vatenfall Poland and Metro Group Poland, and basic vocational schools in organising traineeships for students. No specific initiatives, however, aimed at young entrants and their working conditions can be identified.

Commentary by the NC

Data gathered in this report suggests that the first two years after having entered the labour market are of cruicial importance. They are particularly dynamic in people’s careers. It is a time when pay levels are the lowest and when openness to finding a new job while in work is the highest. It is therefore justified and important to look into the question of working conditions of young entratnts to the labour market.

Social partners need to raise awarness of importance of the issue of working conditions of young entratnts to the labour market. Their concern of this issue is in many ways only indirect. The governmental programme for employment of the young encourages skills development and provides tools for employment of young labour market entrants on labour/employment contracts rather than civil law contracts. Therefore the programme encourages factors that usually improve working conditions, but does not address them in a direct way. Trade unions draw attention to the issue of temporary and civil law contracts, but they usually apply it to the entire working population. Employer associations focus on encouraging entrepreneurial attitudes.

Sources

Ewelina Kuźmicz, the Institute of Public Affairs

Useful? Interesting? Tell us what you think. Hide comments

Add new comment