Table of Contents

  • The OECD economy is in the midst of its deepest and most widespread recession for more than 50 years. Output has declined in almost all OECD countries in the past ten months and with non-OECD economies also slowing sharply, world growth has turned negative. Although Poland appears to have fewer problems than other OECD countries in tackling the current crisis, the country is not immune from the global slowdown and will experience a worsening of labour market conditions for many of its citizens. The most recent Polish Labour Force Survey data suggest a rise of the overall unemployment rate in Poland from a 6.6% historical low in mid-2008 to around 8.2% during the second quarter of 2009. Over the same period of time, the youth (15-24) unemployment rate rose from 16.5 to 19.5 percentage points. This deterioration of the youth unemployment rate is lower than the corresponding OECD average (+4 percentage points) and much less dramatic than in Spain and in Ireland (+11.4 percentage points).

  • L’économie de la zone de l’OCDE traverse la crise la plus profonde et la plus généralisée qu’elle ait connue depuis plus de 50 ans. La production a baissé dans pratiquement tous les pays de l’OCDE au cours des dix derniers mois et, avec la récession que subissent également les économies non membres, la croissance mondiale est devenue négative. Si la Pologne semble avoir moins de difficultés que les autres pays de l’OCDE à faire face à la crise actuelle, elle n’est pas épargnée par le ralentissement de l’activité économique mondiale et connaît une détérioration du son marché du travail qui touche bon nombre de ses habitants. Les données les plus récentes de l’enquête polonaise sur les forces de travail indiquent une augmentation du taux de chômage global de 6.6 % à la mi-2008 (point bas historique) à 8.2 % au cours du second trimestre 2009. Au cours de la même période, le taux de chômage des jeunes (de 15 à 24 ans) a augmenté de 16.5 % à 19.5 %. Cette dégradation du taux de chômage des jeunes est moins marquée que l’évolution moyenne de l’OCDE (+ 4 points de pourcentage) et beaucoup plus faible qu’en Espagne et en Irlande (+ 11.4 points de pourcentage).

  • Improving the performance of youth in the labour market is a crucial challenge in OECD countries. While Poland’s youth labour market has been stronger over the last decade, the future outlook – like for most other OECD countries – is uncertain. It remains thus key to maintain or reinforce policies aimed at better equipping young people with the skills required by the labour market and helping them accomplish a successful transition from school to work.

  • Until very recently Poland was still reaping the benefits of a robust economic growth, at an annual rate exceeding 4% since 2003. The overall situation on the labour market has thus improved dramatically compared with the early 2000s. In aggregate terms, it also looks much better than in the 1990s, when the economy went through a radical transformation of its structure and regime (mainly through dismantling/privatisation of large state-owned industrial conglomerates and introduction of price mechanisms) that was accompanied by a severe contraction of GDP as well as a sharp drop of the overall number of people in employment.

  • Good quality initial education is crucial in facilitating the STW transition and putting youth on a successful career track. Also, on-the-job training at the beginning of active life allows young people to fill the gaps in school-based education and acquire the skills required by firms.

  • Although education and training policies are central elements of any long-term effective strategy for improving youth labour market prospects, a comprehensive policy framework has to pay attention to the opportunities and constraints that are specific to the labour market and rooted in the policies and institutions governing it. Particular attention should be paid to current labour market arrangements as well as other institutions and their impact on the demand for young people, singularly those with no or limited education or lacking labour market experience.

  • Young Polish school leavers entering the labour market need high quality job-search assistance, training and other employment support programmes. Although the situation has improved markedly compared to ten years ago, youth in Poland still face a relatively high risk of unemployment. And too many of them experience spells of unemployment that last more than a year. The current economic recession will probably erode some of the progress achieved during the past decade. It is equally important to ensure that young people are covered by adequate benefit schemes with strong incentives to seek and secure work. The provision of income support and services to help youth find a job should ideally follow a “mutual obligations” principle, where recipients are required to participate in an active job search or training or employment programmes in return for compensation.