A stubbornly high inflation rate across Europe continues to have a real impact on employees and job seekers. While the European Central Bank predicts that inflation in countries like Poland, France and Germany will drop a bit – from an average of 8.4% in 2022 to about 5.6% this year – that’s still way above the ECB’s target of 2%. 

How exactly is inflation affecting the career priorities and choices of European job seekers and employees? Are people considering a side hustle or a second job to make ends meet? And what can companies do to help their staff deal with rising costs and keep them from jumping ship to competitors with better financial offers? 

In order to find out, Michael Page surveyed 184 candidates and employees across Poland. The results offer surprising insights and might make you rethink how you find and keep top talent. 

The second jobs surge in Poland

An eye-opening 67% of employees in Poland are seriously thinking about or have already started working side jobs to make ends meet amid climbing living costs. Breaking down this figure, 15% have already taken a second job, while 52% are seriously considering side hustles

This trend of employees taking on a second job or side hustle brings challenges for employers. Staff spread thin across multiple jobs are more prone to burnout, which affects their well-being; their performance can also suffer, which directly impacts your company’s bottom line. 

The real impact of inflation in Poland

A mere 1.6% of those surveyed said that inflation hasn’t touched their daily lives, leaving the vast majority feeling squeezed, particularly when shopping for groceries or paying their utility bills. Despite these financial strains, nearly half of the respondents – 36%, to be exact – said they hadn’t seen a salary increase in the past year. Among those lucky enough to get a raise, 46% indicated that this extra income was explicitly designed to help offset the harsh effects of high inflation.  

The search for better pay

As our Talent Trends 2023 report has shown, 94% of Polish employees are open to new career opportunities. The Candidate Pulse survey showcases that 63% of respondents are actively searching for jobs with higher salaries to cope with the soaring cost of living. Another 54% are becoming more flexible in their job search and open to positions they might not have considered before. Surprisingly, only 34% have attempted to use the rising cost of living as a bargaining chip to negotiate higher salaries over the past year – and only 13% were successful in these negotiations. This reveals a disconnect between employers and employees when addressing the impact of inflation on wages.  

Inflation in Poland hurts employers too

Clearly, many employers have yet to take substantial action to help employees maintain their purchasing power in these challenging economic times. Why? One reason could be that employers are struggling with their own budget constraints due to inflation, making them hesitant to offer raises. Another could be a lack of open communication about how inflation is affecting both the company and its employees, leading to missed opportunities for collaborative solutions. Read on for some tips on how to beat inflation. 

What employees are looking for

A solid majority (71%) of workers said their employers had taken no action to combat the effects of inflation, apart from giving salary raises. A narrower majority (47%) believe salaries should be adjusted to account for inflation, irrespective of employee performance. Worryingly, 58% of respondents doubt their wages will keep pace with inflation in the next year. 

Our survey also found that 96% of people think companies should be more transparent about their salary policies, including how they intend to adjust for inflation, during the recruitment process. 

Not addressing the issue of inflation can make your company less attractive to potential hires. As for your current employees feeling the pinch of inflation, they may end up taking on side hustles and second jobs to make ends meet. At a time when, according to workers, only one-third of companies are taking extra steps to actively combat inflation’s effects, this represents an opportunity to stand out. 

5 Tips to beat inflation in Poland

  • Keep salaries fresh: Stay in the loop on inflation rates in Europe and use the Michael Page Salary Guide to adjust compensation accordingly. This will help you retain your current staff and attract new talent. 
  • Lend a hand with living costs: Offer allowances to cover the increased costs of essential items like groceries and utilities. 
  • Promote transparency: Talk openly about how you’re tackling inflation. Transparent communication can build trust among your employees. 
  • Offer non-monetary benefits: Consider perks like flexible hours or remote working days. These little extras can make a big difference to your employees’ lives without hurting your bottom line. 
  • Invest in training: Encourage upskilling and professional development. It’s a way to keep your staff sharp and satisfied, reducing the likelihood they take on side hustles or simply look elsewhere. 

How Michael Page can help

Navigating through periods of high inflation and other market disruptions can be challenging. Michael Page offers a team of specialised consultants, backed by over 25 years of market experience, to help you find top talent and design attractive compensation packages. And if you want to keep pace with market trends, our comprehensive Salary Guide is a must-have resource. 

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