The interpenetration of the labor markets in the German-Polish border.

Western Pomerania is a region of Europe located on small area on the coast of the Baltic Sea and its range includes Polish and German border regions.

The specific nature of the labor market and demographic situation in the German part of the region have created specific conditions for the formation of the Polish-German relations in the area. Although the reunification of Germany took more than 20 years the differences in the level of living of the inhabitants of western and eastern provinces are still very visible. This state of affairs was the cause of the migration of a significant part of the population of Eastern Germany, still poorer, to western part of the country to give people better prospects of finding a job and achieving a better quality of life. These movements resulted in the depopulation of the eastern part of the country. The problem is so serious that the shrinking cities governments have decided to take action aimed at population vacancy.

Depending on what opportunities various regions give, the authorities have created packages to encourage Polish citizens to move into Germany. An example of such incentives may offer exemption from the payment of rent for the first three months, free public transport in the first months after residing in a new place, and a promise of reimbursement of expenses incurred for electricity after a year and all this only if you sign a lease for 18 months.

What such actions may have an impact on labor markets both in Germany and Polish?

Although the eastern areas of Germany is still struggling with unemployment higher than in the western part of the country, there is still not enough specialists in many industries. Skilled workers, for which preferential renting an apartment can be a great encouragement in the face of prohibitively high housing prices on the Polish side of the border. Another argument in favor of moving to Germany is fact that their homeland is situated really close. This type of migration is significantly different from that, when people move to areas thousands kilometers away from their hometown. If the migration involves the transfer of a few kilometers from the previous place of residence, it eliminates many of the problems and dilemmas which people planning to emigrate usually have.
Of course we need to consider that this offer is designed more for people in employment in Poland, or people with high qualifications that they can count on finding a job on the west side of the border. And this all not without affecting the rest of the labor market.
The next stage of the action taken by the East German Länder governments, was to encourage companies to move their business to the German side. Reduced comparing to the Polish bureaucracy, and lower taxes would encourage enterprising Poles to build their businesses in Germany. It was not only about the creation of new jobs for the residents of the eastern states.  It was about to stimulate native citizens to change the attitude towards life to a more creative and entrepreneurial.

What was the Polish reaction for this kind of offers?
Contrary to appearances, and despite the attractiveness of the offer, German towns did not became populated in Polish citizens. Clearly there is a large group of people who decided to the move, but they are not the values that can be expected. There are several reasons why the authorities of towns on the Polish side did not have to worry about a sudden exodus. The first is the fact that, despite favorable conditions, as experts estimate, the person who decides to move to the German side would have to reach around € 1,000, which is not common in Poland. For the professionals who can find employment in Germany, conditions what authorities offer them may not be attractive enough. Although wages of skilled people in Germany are high, however, in Poland there is no specialist in similar industries so that they can expect to earn a lot also in Poland.

In the face of that facts, the German authorities came up with another idea to try to cope with the demographic challenges faced by today Germany. They came to the conclusion that if they need employees skilled in the art that they have to train them. Because the young immigrants are more likely  to permanently settle in the country, the Germans decided to encourage young Poles to learn in their own country, in occupations where there is a shortage of labor. As the population of people who are studying is very high in Poland, and young people with a desire decide to take science which gives them to specialize in a particular area, the idea of German rulers seem to hit. Young people are encouraged by the prospect of scholarships and easily find a job after graduation. That makes they rather, than older generations who do not speak foreign languages, decide to accept the proposal of the German states.

You can talk about the positive and negative sides of a situation that takes place on the Polish-German border, its impact on the German labor market  Polish demographic situations, in a society which, like German is getting old. However, we should monitor the situation that is taking place in Pomerania and wait few years for the implications of this actions.


                                                                                                                               Alicja Falińska, Blaž Kralj

6 thoughts on “The interpenetration of the labor markets in the German-Polish border.

  1. The demographic changes in Germany are actually a serious problem. Especially in the mentioned areas mostly in East-Germany. It’s a good opportunity to headhunt young and skilled workers from other countries like Poland in this example. Even for them, because they can probably earn higher wages than in their home country, but the negative aspect is the brain drain of the Polish workers, because the country needs well educated people to improve their situation and be successful.

  2. In my home country Germany the population is going grey and fewer babies are born (birth rate of 1.36 children per woman in the year 2011). So in the future there will be a huge problem, because of the demographic changes. Even today some companies cannot fill their apprenticeship places or is hard to find skilled workers in some sectors. This is a phenomenon that has not existed before some years. In nowadays, you can read in the paper or internet or hear on the radio that a lot of trainees and employees are searched. So why not give polish people the chance to work in Germany and support them? Especially in East Germany this could help to fight against higher unemployment than in West Germany. All in all, I think it is a good idea and particularly the employment of young Polish can be a step to fight against the demographic changes. They young generation can live near to their home country and has the chance to gain a lot of working expierence.

  3. The demographic change is an issue in German politics for years. According to a forecast in 2060 every third German will be 65 or older and the population decline from 82 to 65 million if the birth rate remains low. This will cause problems in the economy and the labor market. I would imagine that we will need labor from abroad in the future.

  4. This topic and its positive and negative impacts on the german and polish labour market is really interesting and worth a discussion. As matze209 already said it is a good opportunity for Germany to headhunt young skilled worker. The polish worker could maybe earn higher wages than in Poland.
    Last week the latest figures of immigration to Germany from the year 2012 were published. Last year there was the highest number of immigration to Germany since 17 years!!
    The exactly number of immigrated people is 1 080 936. Most immigrated people are from Poland (184.325).
    Reasons for this are the stable and powerful economy, rather low number of unemployment and the low susceptibility to crisis.Germany, the flagship state of the euro zone, is becoming increasingly attractive as an immigration country. Particularly clearly increased the immigration from EU countries that are heavily affected by the financial and debt crisis like Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.
    Germany benefits from the debt crisis: the people who immigrate are often young, motivated and qualified. For a country with an aging population like Germany, this is a great advantage.

  5. This article is very interesting for me, because my home country is Germany, and I was not aware of this situation. Its true: the germans getting older and older, the population have less offspring and the most of young people want to make a good career instead of starting a family. Generally I think it is a good concept to give other countries impulsions to work and live in Germany, because its advantages for both sides. Currently these days it is positive if there are people from abroad who want to work in Germany, because of the financial crisis- Germany needs labor from abroad to recover.

  6. It was very a very interesting article to read! When the old population of Germany and its much more better conditions than Poland is considered, such an offer for Polish job-seekers can be thought as a great opportunity.


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