The Polish IT sector on a quest for talent

Winter is already here.

Ask any business leader in Poland about the top challenges for 2019 — attracting and retaining talent are high on the priority list. The golden years of unlimited talent supplies at an affordable cost are long gone. Just like the previous two years, competition for talent will be fierce and expensive.
 
The open-ended skills deficit within the IT sector continues to restrict growth and innovation, all while even more attractive employers are entering the market, both from Poland and abroad.
 
From an employee’s perspective, a simple online process allows professionals to become self-employed overnight and flexible, tax-beneficial contracts make it easier than ever to jump from project to project. Hello, gig economy!

New kids on the block

The arrival of new players, interesting start-ups and established tech names, will make it even harder or impossible for companies to attract the right applicants if they do not manage and market their employer value proposition and position themselves as an employer of choice. Poland might have a reputation for bureaucracy but setting up a new business or subsidiary is actually quite simple.
 
We have recently seen the first examples of small, Polish-owned companies with 2-3 employees, closing their doors as they can not compete for talent with the US and UK companies opening new offices in the major cities and pay premium salaries.
 
Large and well-known software houses, often active in outsourcing and for decades in the local market, are struggling with attrition and talent attraction as they are no longer the sexy employers they once were. We see two approaches these companies take to counter. Some are moving East and open subsidiaries in lower-cost countries. Others are investing in graduate programs and focus on attracting junior profiles with the intention to develop them in-house.
 

Employer Value What?

A recent LinkedIn study (contact me if you want a copy) shows that the Polish workforce is very similar to their colleagues in the rest of Europe when it comes to the key attributes they want in their job. Employees in Poland want 1 – Excellent compensation and benefits, 2 – Good work-life balance and 3 – Challenging work.
 

1. Excellent compensation and benefits

Current and future staff, need to be incentivised more than ever. Employees expect above-average compensation and benefits package. Money is King in a market where jobs are abundant and skills in high demand.
 
We see an increase in requests coming from our clients for salary and job market data. This interest shows that HR leaders are aware of their current challenges and want to know who the movers and shakers are in the ever-changing IT sector.
 

2. Good work-life balance

Employees want to balance work with the other activities they feel that are important in their life. Especially the millennial workforce finds a good work balance essential as they are filling their days with diverse activities, both offline and online.
 

3. Challenging work

Excellent leadership is key as they provide career development and challenge their employees intellectually. Leaders have to understand the different factors that influence each individual’s workday. Once these factors are understood, employees can be challenged without putting unnecessary stress on anyone.
 

A new hope

Employers that can retain their talent have ongoing conversations with their employees about what motivates and drives them. The organisations that know how their remuneration package is positioned in the market and provide challenging work will be best in class to attract and retain talent long term.
 

A candidate’s market is a great one. It forces organisations to evolve. It drives to be more competitive, which in return pushes changes across the board. It improves employee satisfaction and results in higher productivity and pride in their work. In the end, when the employees are happy, everyone wins.

Also readWork-life balance across and beyond generations