Society and labour market

At the end of 2015, the Wielkopolska Region had a population of 3,475,300 people. In terms of population, the province ranks third in the country – after the Mazovia Region and Silesia Region. Over the year, population increased by 2700 persons, i.e. by 0.1%.The population composition according to place of residence was dominated by urban population; in 2015 urban dwellers accounted for 54.9% of the region's inhabitants. Women have been dominating the province's population for years, and their share in 2015 was 51.3%.

There is an increase in the number of persons of non-working age and a decrease in the number of persons of pre-working age. Demographic changes occurring in Wielkopolska, although less dynamic than in the country, indicate that the population make-up will change from stationary to regressive, characterised by a low number of births with a simultaneous increase in average life expectancy. This is due to an increase in the share of elderly population in the total population. This situation will directly impact the labour market, as the proportions in age groups will change, which will affect the availability of work force.

According to demographic forecasts, in the years 2012-2021 a number of changes will take place in the population structure in Wielkopolska, characterized by increases and decreases in the population by age group:

  •  initially the number of people aged 0-5 – accounted for 7% of the total population until 2012, it is projected to drop to 6.4% by 2021;
  • a decrease, but to a lesser extent, will happen among population aged 6-64 –in 2012 this group accounted for 80.7% of the total population, and by 2021 it will fall to 76.6%;
  • constant growth in the population aged 65 and more – in 2012 their share amounted to 12.2%, in 2021 this group will account for 17%.

Ageing processes will affect the region's demographic burden, which will force changes in the labour market, in education and health care, as well as social care.

Labour market
The Wielkopolska Region is one of the most dynamically developing regions of the country. High production potential, developed service sector, high agricultural productivity, high level of entrepreneurship are just some of the factors influencing the province's economic development. Wielkopolska's potential makes it an attractive region for Polish and foreign investors.

For the last several years, the Wielkopolska Region has been characterised by the lowest registered unemployment rate, which amounted to 5.0% in December 2016. In the same period, the unemployment rate in Poland was 8.3%, and the highest rate was registered in the Warmia-Masuria Region – 14.2%. At the same time, there is a significant variation in the scale of unemployment in individual districts, i.e. from 2.0% in the Poznań District to 14.2% in the Konin Country District. Aside from low unemployment rate, the number of unemployed persons amounted to 77,697 persons and was lower by over 15,500 persons, i.e. approximately 16.7%, than in the previous year.

Unemployment rate

The residents of the region are characterized by high professional activity. In 2015 the economic activity rate for working-age residents of Wielkopolska amounted to 75.5% (74.5% in Poland). At the same time it should be emphasized that Wielkopolska has one of the highest employment rates in Poland, which was 69.6% in 2015. This value was close
to the EU average (70.0%).

In recent years, the Wielkopolska Region has seen a steady increase in the number of employed persons. In 2012 this group consisted of 1,448,400 persons. The majority of people work in the service sector in the broad sense (54.1%), nearly every third inhabitant of Wielkopolska (31.3%) is an employee of the industry and construction sector, while agricultural and forestry workers constitute the smallest group (14.8%).

In 2016 the unemployed received 133,400 job offers from district employment offices, and it was 9.5% more than in the previous year. The region is one of the leaders in terms of the demand for workers registered in employment offices. The most sought-after employees include salesmen, storage workers, packagers, maintenance workers, truck drivers, qualified office workers, seamstresses, warehouse workers, and tractor unit drivers. There were 7800 offers for salesmen, 3100 for truck drivers. There were also approximately 1500 job offers for carpenters, locksmiths, and welders. Thanks to a large demand for work, 92,500 unemployed persons took up a job through district employment officers, i.e. 7% less than in 2015. However, it should be added that at the end of 2016, the number of people registered in employment offices was lower by almost 16,000 than at the end of 2015.

According to a short-term forecast based on the "Occupational Barometer", in 2017 most districts in Wielkopolska will experience a deficit of employees among cooks, chefs, car mechanics, tinmen and automotive painters, tailors, and clothing production workers, among others. Professionals from the construction industry will also be sought-after: concreters and steel fixers, construction carpenters, floor layers, construction painters, building services fitters, construction workers. There is also a shortage of staff in medical and nursing professions (medical doctors, nurses, and midwives, carers for the elderly and the disabled), as well as personal services (hairdressers, beauticians). In addition, demand for employees is particularly noticeable in the most dynamically developing industries in the region, including the TFL (transport-forwarding-logistics) and furniture processing industries. This results in a demand for drivers, warehouse workers, forwarders, logisticians, carpenters, and upholsterers.

Average gross wage in Wielkopolska in 2015 amounted to PLN 3728.52 and was lower than the average wage in Poland by 10.2%. Only the City of Poznań District had a larger average salary than the national average, amounting to PLN 4549.11.

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