June 15, 2016

Martin Ring: On growth in Poland and the war for talent

Martin Ring

Martin Ring


I read an interesting article this week which stated that jobs are steadily moving away from global cities synonymous with financial services to lesser known but fast-growing locations.

Research by consultancy Boyd, commissioned for the Financial Times, suggests that London and New York have lost an estimated 42,000 jobs, roughly 6% of the sector, in the past five years arguing that soaring costs in both cities is encouraging businesses to shift to cheaper locations. Poland’s capital, Warsaw, has been one of the many beneficiaries attracting 4,000 jobs during this time, with companies attracted to Warsaw’s annual operating costs which are up to 60% lower than London.

It’s not just about Warsaw though – other regional cities are flourishing and creating new financial services jobs. Kraków, Katowice, Gdańsk, Łódź, Opole, Olsztyn and of course Wrocław in western Poland, where BNY Mellon employs over 800 people, are all fast-growing.  

I moved to Wrocław from Ireland over 15 years ago and during that time the city, and country as a whole, has transformed beyond recognition. It is steadily cementing its reputation as a global investment hub thanks to the continued growth in outsourcing roles. Indeed many Polish cities are now strong, competitive alternatives to some of the more widely known back-office centres in India and China.

Whilst employment opportunities are forecast to rise over the next five to 10 years, which is excellent news for the Polish economy, I have some reservations which I think need to be addressed – primarily the depth of Poland’s talent pool.

I concur with a report published by Cedefop, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, in October 2015 which stated that it’s not a lack of economic growth, but rather a lack of people in the labour market which could hold back employment in Poland over the next decade.

Poland has an excellent educational system with strong talent entering the job market each year. But with increasing competition from fast expanding financial services, professional services, technology and other related industries across the country, competition for the best graduates is now extremely fierce. Many young Poles, like other Europeans, often desire international experience too and as such are attracted to employment opportunities in other global cities. Poland is competing on the world stage for talent.  

As well as holding onto home-grown talent, we need to attract internationals seeking employment in different countries and maybe hadn’t considered Poland as an option. Walk around places like Wrocław and Kraków and you begin to understand the attractions – beautiful architecture, rich history, clean streets, vibrant social scene, polite and friendly people, great food and low crime. Salaries have also risen and continue to rise too.

For Poland to continue to grow its economy and for businesses to succeed, it is essential that we attract the best and the brightest talent from across the world. I think we’ve come a long way in the last 15 years but businesses and Government still have a lot to do to show just how good Poland is to live and work if we want to attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive international labour market.

BNY Mellon is recruiting in Wrocław. Search here to see if one of our roles might be right for you!