In Brief

Poland needs 100,000 construction workers following exodus to Germany and UK

Polish building firms looking to plug shortfall with recruits from Belarus, Ukraine and Bangladesh

Poland’s economic growth is being threatened by the mass exodus of workers to Germany and the UK, experts warn. 

According to Sky News, Polish businesses are turning to neighbouring non-EU countries including Ukraine and Belarus, and as far as Bangladesh, in order to “fill vacancies in trades such as building, welding and lorry driving”.

The construction industry has been hardest hit, with a current shortfall of around 100,000 employees in the sector, says the broadcaster.

Experts believe the problem will only worsen in the future. The current birth rate in Poland is around only half that of the post-WWII baby boom years. Combined with the exodus of skilled workers seeking better-paid work in Western Europe, official forecasts predict that by 2030, one in every five jobs in Poland will be vacant, reports the Daily Mail.

“Poland’s economy will need 20 million workers, at a time when the working age population will be down to 16 million people,” says the newspaper.

An unnamed Polish entrepreneur and manager told AFP: “Right now we mostly take on Ukrainians and some Belarussians. We practically no longer have Poles. They’re all working in Germany or Britain.”

Meanwhile, the country’s largest construction firm, Budimex, said that it was looking for an extra 1,000 workers.

“We’re seeing a labour shortage in our company, but the same goes for our subcontractors, who are also complaining,” a spokesperson told the news agency.

“We’re short on practically all workers: masons, carpenters, concrete mixers, plasterers, pavers, drivers, machine operators. Too few foremen and engineers, too.”

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