The work revolution has arrived – is Poland ready?

Changes in work are both rapid and inevitable with the difference between winning and losing coming down to readiness and agility. Where does Poland stand in this race?

Like in most other OECD countries, Polish businesses and workers are facing big challenges, including automation, the shortening of global delivery chains and the continued international consolidation of wealth and power. To investigate what exactly is driving these shifts in the market, Talent Alpha, a B2B human cloud company, partnered up with Transformant, the Digital Readiness Institute, HAYS, KKS Savills and the Labour Mobility Initiative Association to produce the ‘7 Drivers Shaping The Future of Work Report’. They have highlighted seven key factors, including technology transformation, changing company cultures, evolving processes, new skills, new business models, workplace transformation and policy changes.

Chasing the global industrial revolution

Automation is a potential threat to the Polish job economy, as is the case in many other countries. According to the OECD, approximately 20% of the jobs in Poland are threatened by robotisation. Of course, some sectors will be more affected than others. The textile industry, for example, could see nearly 80% of its jobs automated by 2030.

According to the World Economic Forum, automation will create over 40% more positions than it will displace, especially in the technology sector. In Poland, there are some technologically advanced sectors such as 3D printing and gaming, but the country still lags behind the global competition in other areas. The domestic economy suffers from ‘in-sourcing’, a reverse in the global trend to outsource business services to countries such as Poland, as well as the shortening of supply chains due to security policies and robotisation.

Despite process automation, a country’s major strength, especially in the area of technology, is still its people. Poland is one of the best locations in the world for business services, with IT accounting for around a third of these services in Poland, according to ABSL. Furthermore, Polish tech companies are increasingly successful on the international front. However, new solutions are needed to let domestic companies win major contracts from blue chip companies.

The gig economy and hyperconnectivity

The rise of the gig economy can help companies and specialists located in Poland to gain access to international projects and clients. In the US, around 40% of the workforce is already engaged in ‘gig work’ where they carry out their duties remotely via digital labour marketplaces known collectively as the human cloud. According to Staffing Industry Analysts, the human cloud is rapidly expanding as large companies pursue greater workforce management flexibility and access to immense global talent pools.

In a nutshell, people would no longer have to work in the most developed country or in the biggest city to have access to major clients and the best projects. Small and mid-sized Polish cities, which offer top educational institutions, a positive earnings/costs ratio and a high quality of life, can become increasingly attractive to specialists and for international clients. Correspondingly, SMEs based in these cities can access the best of the world’s talent to deliver high-quality projects and compete with bigger players around the world.

Plugging into the international market will also be supported by the development of hyper-connectivity and cloud computing platforms. They allow us to work and collaborate from anywhere in the world. The variety of As-a-Service solutions (e.g. software licenced on a subscription basis) enable flexibility and access to the best solutions wherever they are used and originate from. This is also a chance for all technology providers from Poland.

The evolution of the workplace

Polish companies and employees must be ready for huge changes in the way we work. Company culture and processes will change in order to support diversity and inclusion as well as intensive reskilling, upskilling and total workforce management. Technologies, like voice and facial recognition, IoT and wearables, will increasingly help track our activity and support HR and recruitment processes. Offices will become flexible workplaces driven by activities or even change into dispersed self-chosen working environments. 

Managers should be ready for changes also on a personal level. Skills that were essential just a few years ago may be obsolete tomorrow. Agility, creativity and being ready to adapt are going to be crucial capabilities.

Industry expert

Mike Kennedy, Co-founder of Talent-Alpha, is an established leader with an international career starting up, delivering and growing new business lines, offices, and system solutions. He spent 26 years at Goldman Sachs, based in the Technology Division, before moving to his current Talent Alpha startup venture. His global career has resulted in him living in London, New York, Tokyo, Bangalore and finally Warsaw where he was responsible for starting up the Goldman Sachs SSC. Talent Alpha is a B2B platform that provides tech talent on demand. It connects clients with software houses, offering Talent-as-a-Service.

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Written by: Mike Kennedy