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Polish women on the labour market

Fourty three percent of managers in Poland are women – according to a report by the Polish Economic Institute. This result puts our country in second place (ex aequo with Sweden) in the European Union. Only Latvia is slightly ahead of us.

More and more Polish women-managers

The under-representation of women in management positions is characteristic of the European Union as a whole. In Poland, however, this disproportion is relatively small – almost half of all managers in Poland are women. Against the background of the EU average, which is 35 percent, which is very positive. It is worth noting that this is not a one-off jump in the rankings – the percentage of women in managerial positions has been gradually increasing since 2008. The sectors where this trend is most clearly visible are trade, public administration and industry.

Small wage gap

Poland’s good position  is the result of a relatively small wage gap, i.e. the difference between the average gross hourly earnings of men and women. Such a gap is found all over the world, and its span varies significantly from country to country. In Poland, it is relatively small – according to Eurostat it is 4.5 per cent, and according to the Ministry for Family and Social Policy – 4.8 per cent. In our country, it is generated mainly by the private sector (in 2022 it was 12.9 per cent), while in the public sector it is much smaller – 2.3 per cent.

Working conditions and activity

In the spring of this year, the consulting company PwC published the 10th edition of the “Women in Work Index” report. The results show that among the 33 OECD countries that perform best in terms of working conditions for women and women’s professional activity, Poland has moved up 3 places compared to the previous year and continues the trend of strengthening its position and is ahead of most countries in our region.

Women in technical Universities

In the period 2001-2021, the percentage of people with higher education in Poland increased from 11.8 per cent to 33.2 per cent. In the EU, only Malta and Portugal achieved higher growth dynamics. The percentage of Polish women in the 25-64 age group who have higher education is currently 38.8 per cent and is higher than the average in the European Union countries (35.2 per cent). Noticeably fewer women than men study in technical faculties, although – as the report “Women at technical universities” indicates – within a decade the number of women studying at public technical universities in IT faculties increased by 47 percent. Undoubtedly, the greater interest in technical directions is influenced by campaigns that encourage women to try their hand at these areas.

Salary increases

In Poland, the last 15 years, a clear increase in the absolute level of women’s wages has been observed. In nominal terms, average wages for women more than doubled between 2004 and 2020. The purchasing value of salaries also gradually increased. If 2004 is taken as a benchmark, the average female salary (in constant 2020 prices) increased by 80% by 2020.

What’s lies in the future?

Women’s participation in the labour market is one of the Sustainable Development Goals. The empowerment of women and girls, as well as the promotion of sustainable and balanced economic growth based on full and productive employment and decent work for all, are the benchmark to which all European countries aspire. In Poland, the position of women on the labour market is strengthening from year to year. This is influenced by a number of factors, both economic and social. Last year, the Council of Ministers adopted the National Action Programme for Equal Treatment for 2022-2030, which included provisions on strengthening the potential of women and girls and promoting diversity management. The coming years will show whether EU directives, social and educational programs and the involvement of companies and organizations themselves will contribute to further reforms strengthening the position of women in the labour market.

Sources:

  • „Jak zwiększyć aktywność zawodową kobiet w Polsce?” – Instytut Badań Strukturalnych
  • „Sytuacja kobiet w Polsce z perspektywy społeczno-ekonomicznej” – Polski Instytut Ekonomiczny
  • „Kobiety na politechnikach” – Fundacja Edukacyjna Perspektywy i Ośrodek Przetwarzania Informacji
  • „Women in Work Index” – PwC
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