There is no country with a flat rate of wages across its territory. However, in well-developed economies these differences are often marginal and insignificant. But such a division is very visible and felt in Poland. Studies show that in terms of employment and average salaries there are 2 states.
When you take into account the situation is separate provinces, major trends are easily discernible. Wages in central Poland and especially in the capital, Warsaw, are higher by 66% than those in the east. Other well-prospering regions are Lower Silesia and Pomerania. In Mazovia, chances of finding a job are the highest since this region has the biggest number of job offers published, with Lower Silesia, Małopolska, Silesia, Wielkopolska and Pomerania following. Fewest people are wanted in Świętokrzyskie, Podlaskie, Warmia-Masuria, Opole and Lubuskie provinces.
As the map shows, the provinces which belong to the ‘eastern wall’ earn least. Differences between these regions are small. Main reasons for such small earnings and poor statistics are unemployment (with en ever-increasing number of companies closing down or going bankrupt), lack of external investments (since big, often international companies prefer well-developed areas and big cities), and small capacity of existing manufacturing and industrial plants to offer more jobs. Such small income, usually borderline with a minimum wage, forces a lot of people to take up additional part-time jobs to make ends meet.
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The situation with cities is not entirely dependent on the province they are in. In the mining areas of Silesia cities like Katowice, Chorzów, Sosnowiec, Gliwice or Rybnik have always offered one of the highest salaries in the country, despite the state’s overall average performance. In the past Katowice were listed even higher than the capital. However, funding and investments were relocated from those cities when the Euro 2012 preparations started and other cities got a chance to develop. In all the municipalities that hosted the games investments were made. Injections of money propelled local economies and enabled industrial development, which obviously influenced the salaries.
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A very significant factor in average wage differentiation is also location of firms. Headquarters and offices of major companies, especially international, are located in big cities or agglomerations. These companies created an employment structure different to the one in rural areas. The degree of industrialisation is also important. City regions with low engagement in agriculture and high participation in industry or services have relatively higher averages and greater investment attraction. If a city is a province capital, its chances for external capital are even higher. High concentration of skills is another magnet for investors – universities provide educated and skilled graduates who are more likely to be hired.
In terms of branches, not surprisingly nowadays it turns out that in most of provinces highest wages are offered to IT specialists (e.g. in Małopolska an average wage in the IT branch is 5,5 thousand PLN, while the province average is only 3,2 thousand). In the Mazovia region best salaries go to those working in telecommunication with an average of 6,8 thousand.
However, the general process of development is bound to diminish differences between regions. The process of reaching equilibrium can already be observed – the ‘eastern wall’ provinces have a higher rate of income increase than in central Poland.
By Katarzyna Liszka, Martyna Dzido, Aleksandra Pułyk, Patrycja Perzyńska