Current issue – WBJ August/September 2018

AMBITIOUS, SMART AND FRIENDLY – some of the key characteristics I hear from foreigners when I discuss their meetings with Polish people. The description fits quite well with my own experience working with Poles in Poland over the past 20 years.

Therefore, I am also confident that when Poland today enters the stage as a mature and developed economy, the talent, eagerness and smart work that has brought the country here will not stagnate. On the contrary, I think there are plenty of opportunities for Polish businesses to really flourish. In this issue we analyze the last three decades of the Polish success story, as Poland joins FTSE Russell’s list of top 25 developed economies.

A topic that has recently surfaced as a game-changer is the planned pension reform. Poles will soon get another go at building a private pension system, an ambitious task but definitely worthwhile. We talked to business leaders and experts in the field about what is to change and how it will affect society and the markets.

It’s been a hot summer in Poland, and when things heat up, clouds and storms soon follow, exactly as it is with the economy. Here are a few key indicators pointing at some concerns that may soon unfold:

  • Unemployment is continuing to drop, it now hovers at around 6 percent and we hear that many companies are struggling to find employees where expectations and competencies are matching companies’ needs.
  • Poland’s GDP will exceed 2018 expectations and may reach 5 percent in 2018, with domestic consumption being the major driver. The challenge of more growth from exports and international trade is surely an issue Poland must address in the years ahead.
  • The mood (based on Kantar public survey in August 2018) in Poland says that 43 percent of Poles have a negative view of the direction Poland is taking. Some 56 percent are positive on the economic situation in Poland, with only 31 percent being decidedly negative. This is still a huge gap between how the economy is performing and how it is perceived, which indicates a growing issue for Poland to tackle.
  • There are many prospective sectors for international expansion. Gaming, healthcare innovation, retail, furniture and IT are some of the sectors where Poland is already making significant impact abroad and where the opportunities for growth are enormous. But whether companies have the speed, the talent and the economic backing to keep growing is yet to be seen.

This year will surely go down as a good one for the majority of Polish businesses, so let’s stay positive and help each other stay on the path the country has been on for nearly 30 years. I wish you a pleasant read and the best of luck with further business success in the autumn.

MORTEN LINDHOLM

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