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Poland’s productivity below EU average


The productivity of Poland’s manufacturing sector is significantly below the EU average, according to a European Commission report on industrial competitiveness published on 14 October. The country also scores below par on the level of innovation, as measured e.g. by the share of innovating firms, and on most aspects of the business environment, particularly infrastructure and the time needed to start a business.

According to the study, Poland is one of a group of 12 EU countries characterised by labour productivity “considerably below the EU average”. Its other members include Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Portugal, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia and Bulgaria. Poland is also one of three EU countries with the lowest share of innovating firms, below 30% (together with Hungary and Latvia). On the business friendliness of government regulation Poland ranks in the “medium” category, which is by far the biggest and includes 16 countries, including most CEE countries. Hungary is an exception, with government regulation assessed as “most burdensome”.

The Commission concludes that while Poland withstood well the crisis and continues to grow, benefiting from its role as a manufacturing hub and increasingly as a business service provider, in order to achieve more rapid and sustainable long-term growth it needs to improve the general business environment, improve its transport and energy infrastructure, and invest more in human capital development, innovation and R&D (on the latter issue, the Commission’s analysis shows that Poland’s manufacturing sector is not specialised in technology-driven industries, has low R&D intensity and its profile is between countries specialised in labour intensive industries and countries specialised in knowledge-intensive industries).

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