It’s harder for Poles who are in their fifties to find a new job than their German peers. This is because their chances are limited not only by age, but also by a low level of education. A commentary from Bartosz Grejner, Cinkciarz.pl analyst.
In Poland, the employment rate for people in their fifties is at a similar level to the EU employment rate for people with higher education. Nevertheless, Poland remains at the bottom of the EU ranking regarding the employment rate for people with the lowest education.
Below average, but perspectives for improvement have been promising
The European Union’s percentage of employed people within the age bracket of 50-64 was at the level of 63.8% (data: Eurostat, third quarter of 2016). During the same period, the employment rate for this group in Poland was at the level of 55.3%. Countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom are in the lead of this ranking with results of 75.2% and 70.8% respectively.
The positive aspect for Poland is that over the past ten years it’s index has been increasing slightly more rapidly than the EU index. The difference was at the level of approximately 4 percentage points to Poland’s advantage. However, the same index’s growth in Germany was by approximately 3.5 percentage points faster than in Poland.
This improvement in the Polish labor market was confirmed by the data from March 2017, which was provided by the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS). According to this data, the professional activity of people within the age bracket of 50-64 has increased. This was caused by the aging of society, hence an increased demand for employees who are beyond the age of 50.
Does the future belong to people in their sixties?
In 2015, the majority of Poles were within the age bracket of 30-34. According to GUS, this will change by 2050 and the majority of Poles will be within the age range of 65-69. This gradual increase of mature professionals has already caused an increase in demand for employees in their fifties and sixties.
Between 2010 and 2015, the percentage of men and women in professional roles in their fifties increased 8.1% and 13.1% respectively. Moreover, the amount of professionals in their fifties increased more in rural (14.8%) than urban areas.
The percentage of Poles who are in their fifties and have higher education was at the level of 76.6%. This is similar to the EU average (78.8%), but considerably less than the average in Germany (85.9%, data provided by Eurostat).
Poland’s data regarding people in their fifties who have secondary education is slightly worse than the EU average (66.3% vs 77.5%). Moreover, this index is by 19.8 percentage points lower than in Germany.
The statistics show that the situation of people in their fifties who have primary education is lowest in the EU market. The average percentage for the entire EU is 47.5%, for Germany it’s 56.1% and for Poland – 31.2%. The latter is the lowest result among the EU countries.
Poland won’t catch up by aging
It may be concerning that the percentage of people within the age bracket of 50-64 who have primary education hasn’t increased much over the years. In the second quarter of the year 2000, the employment rate for this index was at the level of 31.8%. In 2008, it increased to 32.9%, only to drop to the level of 31.2% in 2016.
According to GUS, the majority of Poles who are beyond the age of 50 have vocational education. The percentage of this group in the category of population beyond the age of 15 increased from 45.2% to 53% between 2010 and 2015.
A maturing society can be negative for the condition of the Polish labor market. Due to the low employment rate for the population of over 50s and basically stable percentage of employed people who have primary education, Poland may not only not catch up with the EU leaders, but may also remain below the EU average.