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It is worth being professionally active. Women constitute the hidden potential of the Polish economy



More working women equals higher economic growth – by 2025, the state budget could gain even more than PLN 50 billion of GDP and almost PLN 20 billion of public levies, according to the latest Deloitte report “Hidden potential of the Polish labour market. Women professionally inactive”, prepared on behalf of Coca-Cola as part of the Labour Market Forum of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers. The report was presented on March 16th this year at a conference in the Sejm of the Republic of Poland with the participation of representatives of the Parliament, non-governmental organisations and farmer’s wives associations. According to Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz, women are the hidden potential of the Polish economy.

“Entrepreneurship is a woman and is deeply rooted in the Polish genotype. It is worth not being afraid to enter the labour market, regardless of whether we are at the beginning of our professional career or at the height of our development,” says Jadwiga Emilewicz, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology. “Today there is a place on the labour market for each and every single one of us women, because our competences are unique and absolutely difficult to overestimate. It is important to make good use of our time. We hope that the Constitution for Business provides solutions that will allow women to develop even more, and those who are wondering whether it is worth being active professionally will be encouraged to enter the labour market,” adds Emilewicz.

Nearly 4 million Polish women aged 20-64 who are economically inactive constitute the real potential of the Polish economy. As it turns out, family and house duties are the main reason for both cessation of employment and non-employment – they concerns up to 7 out of 10 women. The need to look after one’s child as a barrier to starting work was indicated by 41% of surveyed women. Next came the following: taking care of one’s home – 27%; no job offers in the area – 24%; no contacts – 16%; health – also 16%; as well as education and age – both 11%.

Sustainable development of the Polish economy requires investments in human capital. Currently, among the largest challenges for the labour market, unused human resources, including women, take a significant place. The professionally active Polish women still constitute 62% of the entire feminine population. It means that 4 out of 10 of us do not take up a job and do not even look for one. However, we believe that you can return to work. Coca-Cola as an employer is trying to engage globally in the professional activation of women. Together with the Foundation of Success Written in Lipstick, we launched one of the largest activation programs in Poland – “Sukces to Ja” (“I Am Success”). Over one and a half years, we were able to train 10,000 women. We know how large, still unused potential lies hidden in the female part of society,” says Anna Solarek, director of communication and external contacts at Coca-Cola Poland Services.

The study by Deloitte shows that there is a wide variation in the perception of the role of women and men in professional and family life, depending on the region. There are also different reasons for inactivity declared by women depending on their place of residence and their age. For example, in Silesia, Lower Silesia, and Opole Province, the most important reason for professional deactivation of women is taking care of their children – similar to other parts of the country. However, what distinguishes these regions is the fact that the percentage of women indicating childcare as the most important reason is here the lowest and amounts to 38%. In comparison with the south of Poland, i.e. in Lublin Province, Lesser Poland, and Subcarpathia this percentage amounts to 41%, in the north-west – 45%, and in Kuyavia-Pomerania, Podlasie Province, and Warmia-Masuria – 46%.

The third most common reason for deactivation is the lack of job offers in the area where women are asked, as indicated by 19-31% of women. This is the biggest problem for women living in the south of Poland, in the following provinces: Lublin Province, Lesser Poland, Subcarpathia, and Świętokrzyskie Mountains. For Silesian women, as important as the condition of the local labour market is their own health – 19% complain about it. On the flipside, health problems are least important for residents of northern Poland. Residents of south-eastern provinces more often complain about lack of professional contacts – 20% mention it as a barrier to finding a job. In the same region, the level of education is also a problem – 15%, as well and lack of certificates and licences – 14%.

What could encourage Polish women to take up a job are flexible working hours, indicated by more than half of the respondents. Most women spend as much time as 37 hours on household chores a week, which is why working from home would be an equally helpful solution for them. Working part-time is also becoming attractive due to rising wages – over a quarter of women are looking forward it. Then there are such solutions as increasing the accessibility to nurseries and kindergartens – 20%, help from other family members – 13%, and more free days per week – 12%. Importantly, women who are outside the labour market do not stop believing in themselves. Over half of them think that they would find a job the moment they started looking for it. Women are ready to take up a job, because as many as 72% of them would accept a job that would require learning new skills.

“As the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, we have for a long time emphasised the importance and necessity of activation of women on the labour market. The establishment of the Union’s Labour Market Forum has a specific educational objective, also in the area of promoting female entrepreneurship. This unused potential can become the driving force behind changes in the Polish economy. As an organisation representing entrepreneurs, we see the need for changes to take place on the labour market for women, not only in terms of flexible working hours or part-time work, but also in the ability to perform tasks remotely. It is extremely important from our point of view to support women in setting up their own businesses with active cooperation of local governments,” said Katarzyna Włodarczyk-Niemyjska, Director of the Law and Legislation Department of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers.

The professional activity of women is not only an important issue from the perspective of their development, building of their self-esteem, and ensuring continuity of opportunities on the labour market, but also a real positive impulse for the Polish economy. The professional activity of women and their equality on the labour market are key elements of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, implemented by 193 countries that are members of the United Nations, including Poland. The increase in the professional activity index of both women and men (aged 20-64) from today’s 68% up to 71% in 2020 and 73% in 2030 is also one of the goals of the Strategy for Responsible Development adopted in 2017 by the Council of Ministers.

Full and unabridged report “Hidden potential of the Polish labour market. Women inactive professionally”

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