"If you work in Warsaw, you can earn twice as much as those in the same job in other regions of Poland. But living in the capital also has financial disadvantages. Flats cost much more than in other Polish cities. It is also a lot more expensive to buy tickets to the cinema or to visit your barber," writes Marcin Lipka, Conotoxia Analyst.
At the beginning of June, the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS) published the "Warsaw Statistical Review" for the first quarter of this year. Interestingly, unemployment in the capital city dropped to 1.9% and the number of employees in the sector of enterprises employing more than 9 people reached 1.1 million at the end of the quarter (in Poland it is 6.2 million).
However, the most interesting information from the GUS study concerns the level of salaries. Although the data includes only companies employing more than 9 people, it is easy to find out which lines of business the Polish capital city offers significantly higher salaries than the rest of the country.
9,000 PLN for 300,000 people on average
Residents of the capital city employed in the PKD (Polish Classification of Activities) Information and Communication section received an average of 9,341 PLN gross in the first quarter. However, the difference between the salaries of the IT specialists in Warsaw and those of telecommunications industry representatives is not large, compared to the national average and amounts to a difference of only 800 PLN (8,500 PLN approx.).
Professional and scientific activities (e.g. lawyers, accountants, employment in public relations, advertising or as translators) are only slightly less profitable. They amounted to 8,957 PLN on average in the first three months of the year (10,050 PLN in March alone). Compared to the rest of the country, salaries in this group are about 2,000 PLN higher.
However, the salaries of wholesale traders (e.g. food, fuel and metals, alcohol, clothing, furniture or machinery and chemical products) may come as a surprise. The average salary in Warsaw for these people was over 8,700 PLN in the first quarter. This is 55% more than the Polish average (5,600 PLN). In total, the average for 300,000 people distinguished in the three PKD sections is close to the level of 9,000 PLN per month.
Warsaw offers almost double
Relatively high salaries are also observed in the the real estate sector in the largest Polish city. In the first three months of the year it was 7,300 (5,000 PLN on average throughout the whole of Poland).
However, the biggest difference between salaries in Warsaw can be observed in the trade section (retail, wholesale and vehicle repair). The capital city offers almost 6,500 PLN on average, whereas for example, in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship employees earn 3,254 PLN per month. The largest city in Poland gives you the opportunity to earn twice as much.
Small differences can be observed in administration and auxiliary activities (e.g. various types of rentals, but also security activities or call centres). Warsaw earns 3,800 PLN, while the national average is 3,400 PLN. In general, 1.1 million employees in Warsaw received an average of 6,104 PLN gross in the first quarter, compared to 4,622 PLN in the rest of Poland.
Earnings are higher, but so are living costs
The prices in Warsaw differ significantly from those in other regions of the country. First of all, this applies to real estate. According to the National Bank of Poland, the average transaction price per square meter of a new flat in Warsaw is about 8,000 PLN. For 10 cities (Bialystok, Bydgoszcz, Katowice, Kielce, Lublin, Olsztyn, Opole, Rzeszow, Szczecin and Zielona Gora) it is approx. 5,000 PLN on average.
The cost of buying most goods does not vary greatly from other parts of Poland. The situation is similar with charges for utilities, e.g. water or central heating. However, the differences are significant if you want to go to the cinema, for example. According to the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS), a ticket for a Saturday screening in the capital city costs 27.75 PLN per ticket on average. This is 40% more than the Polish average (19,6 PLN) and over 50% more than in the Polish lake district (17.30 PLN).
Going to a barbershop in Warsaw is not very profitable either. This service costs 31.5 PLN on average, which is 65% more than in the rest of Poland (18.9 PLN).