Polish wages catching up with EU, but process will take years - report

Polish wages are gradually getting closer to the EU's average gross pay, but it will still take 18 more years for Poland to reach the medium EU level, an accountancy firm has reported.

The firm, Grant Thornton, based its calculation on the assumption that the wages growth rate seen in the last three years will be maintained in all surveyed countries.

In the report, "Salary Catch Up Index," Poland came seventh from bottom among the 27 EU member states in terms of gross wages. In nominal terms, Poles earned nearly three times less than the EU average and almost five times less than people in Luxembourg, who topped the ranking.

Compared to the previous report, Poland slightly overtook Croatia and Hungary but fell behind Lithuania.

When the purchasing power is factored in, Poland ranks eight from the bottom, and Poles are three times less affluent than Luxembourgers.

Grant Thornton's Tomasz Wróblewski pointed out that Poland's wage growth reached 5.6 percent annually in 2017-2019, after inflation, whereas the average figure for the EU was 0.4 percent.

In 2000, Poland's wages were five times lower than the European average, a disparity reduced to three times less by 2019, Wróblewski said. "We still have a huge gap to bridge, in fact a generational one," he added.

Poland will reach the EU average in 2038, Grant Thornton's calculations show. The narrowest gap to close is that with Portugal, just five years, and the farthest to Ireland, 39 years. Germany's wage level is attainable in 28 years.