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New SME survey points to weak labour market prospects


The near-term outlook for Poland’s labour market is rather negative, with companies bracing themselves for a period of stagnant job creation and modest wage increases for essential staff only, according to the first edition of a new periodic survey of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by the Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers (ZPP) and Maison, a market research firm.

The ZPP Labour Market Barometer amounted to 49 points in January, i.e. below the neutral level of 50 points. The employment indicator came in at 46.62 points, as 29% of the surveyed SMEs said they would cut jobs in the coming months (including 6% "substantially") and 53% expected no change. On the other hand, 18% of the respondents said they would increase employment in the near future (1% "substantially").

The wages indicator amounted to 51.39 points. A clear majority of the surveyed firms do not expect to raise wages in the months ahead (71%), but 18% are planning modest increases, while 11% say they will cut wages (3% "substantially").

According to the report’s authors, the findings point to enormous uncertainty among SMEs in Poland about the near future. As a result, companies will be focusing on survival rather than on expansion, an attitude set to be further reinforced by the recent increase in non-wage labour costs (a 2-point rise in disability contributions paid by employers).

The first wave of the barometer is based on a survey on a representative sample of 812 companies employing up to 250 people. Such companies make up 99.8% of all firms in Poland, account for 75% of all jobs and generate 67% of GDP.

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