Society and labour market
The Wielkopolska Region is seeing a steady increase in the population. At the end of 2018, the region was inhabited by almost 3,494,000 people. In terms of population, the region continues to be ranked third in the country, after the Mazowieckie and Śląskie regions. Wielkopolska’s population accounts for 9.1% of the country’s total, and this share has been growing in recent years.
As far as the place of residence is concerned, urban population prevailed. In 2018, city residents accounted for 54.3% of the region’ population. The structure of the population by sex has not changed as women still dominate among the inhabitants of the region. Their share was 51.3%.
In the Wielkopolska region, as in the country, changes in the population structure by economic age groups have been noted. These changes are unfavourable to the labour market: in 2018, the share of people at the post-working age increased again to 19.9%, while the share of working age population dropped to 60.7% of the region’s inhabitants. Over the decade, the number of people at the post-working age has increased by 39.3% (2018/2008).
The Wielkopolska Region is one of the most dynamically developing regions country-wise. Substantial production capacity, well developed tertiary sector, great agricultural productivity, and high level of entrepreneurship are just some of the factors contributing to the region’s economic growth. The potential of Wielkopolska makes it attractive to Polish and foreign investors.
Demographic changes occurring in Wielkopolska, although less dynamic than in the country, indicate that the population structure will soon change from stagnant to regressive one, characterized by low birth rate with simultaneous increase in the average life expectancy. This means that the share of older people in the total population will increase. This situation will have a direct impact on the labour market, as the proportions in age groups will change, thus affecting the availability of the workforce. The ageing of the population will contribute to the demographic burden of the region, thereby forcing changes to the labour market, education, healthcare and social welfare systems.
The year 2019 was the best in recent years in terms of the labour market situation: the registered unemployment rate at the end of the year was 2.8%. In the same period, the unemployment rate in Poland was 5.2%, and the highest rate was recorded in the Warmia-Mazury Region (9.0%). What is more, the region is diversified in terms of the scale of unemployment in individual districts, i.e. it varies from 1.1% in the Poznań district to 7.2% in the Konin district.
The number of the unemployed in the region is 46,313 people, which is 9% less compared to December last year.
Share of selected categories of the unemployed in the total number of the unemployed in 2019 (in%)
Inhabitants of the region are professionally active. In 2018, the labour force participation rate for Wielkopolska’s working age population was 78.3% (3rd place in the country). Furthermore, Wielkopolska is noted for one of the highest employment rates country-wise, which in 2018 was 76.5% (regarding population aged 18-59/64).
In recent years, a systematic increase in the number of employed has been recorded in the Wielkopolska Region. In 2018, more than 1.6 million people had a job. Most of them work in the tertiary sector (51.3%), nearly every third resident of Wielkopolska (36.6%) works in the industrial and construction sector, while the smallest group is hired in the agro-forestry sector (11.5%).
In 2019, employers submitted 92,314 job offers to the Wielkopolska labour offices , i.e. 11.1% less than in 2018. The most sought after professions included: low-skilled workers (also from the industry sector), salesmen, warehousemen, farm workers, drivers of vans, housekeepers (in hotels and offices), auxiliary construction workers, office technicians, auxiliary workers in the processing industry, drivers, forklift operators.
Based on an expert survey called the “Occupation Barometer” carried out in 2019, the 2020 estimates suggest 46 shortage occupations at the regional level. Most of these professions has been sought after in Wielkopolska for a long time, including those from key industries such as transport and logistics, construction, service, and furniture. The 2019 survey identified additional professions that had not existed a year before, such as a paramedic, a practical vocational teacher, a purchasing officer, and a supplier.
The forecast made by experts last fall must be revised due the COVID-19 pandemic. Certainly, the number of shortage professions will decrease, especially in the gastronomic industry, the barber and beauty industry, physiotherapy and sports and leisure services. Layoffs will affect a number of employees from the trade and tourism sector. The demand for professions related to the transport, IT and healthcare industries will continue to increase. Observation shows that the construction industry will also significantly slow down.
An average gross salary in the Wielkopolska Region in 2018 was PLN 4,382.96, which accounted for 90.7% of an average salary country-wise (PLN 4,834.76). Only the city of Poznań stood out, where an average salary exceeded the national one and amounted to PLN 5,355.57.