Up to 750,000 people not working or learning could plug labour gap
Poland could plug some of the gap in its labour market by tapping into a pool of hundreds of thousands of people who are neither working nor studying, a new report has found.
The Institute for Structural Research (IBS), a think-tank specialising in the effects of public policy on areas such as the labour market and demography, has found that there are up to 750,000 people aged between 15-29 that could be channelled into the labour market with the right support and policies.
Known as NEETS (derived from “neither in employment, education or training”) around 500,000 of them are women who have taken up the responsibility of caring for children.
If they could be eased back into the workforce it would relieve some of the strain on a labour market hamstrung by a shortage of workers, and one that has left some employers scrabbling to find employees. Poland’s unemployment rate fell to 3.3 percent in September, its lowest rate in almost 30 years.
“It’s a paradox that employers are having trouble finding workers, and at the same time there’s such a large group of young people who can’t find work or aren’t even looking,” said Iga Magda, IBS vice president and a professor at the Warsaw School of Economics, in a press release. “With support from the government, these people could find work in services, trade or tourism. The problem is that neither decision makers nor businesspeople can reach them.”
Poland, to an extent, has relied on an influx of workers from neighbouring Ukraine to help keep the economy humming, but the IDS report indicates that policies supporting women in the workplace could also help.
“We need to look at the effectiveness of programmes to bring young mothers back to the labour market,” said Magda. “Experience in countries such as Germany, France and Sweden shows that women’s labour-force participation increases when they can find part-time work and there’s widespread access to high-quality nurseries and preschools.”