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When will Polish wages catch up with the EU average?

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Recent years have been a period of dynamic economic growth in Poland. Since 2000, GDP per capita in Poland has jumped 149.8% (in euro) compared to 58.8% growth EU-wide. And how does such strong economic growth translate into earnings in Poland?

According to Grant Thornton’s calculations based on Eurostat data, the wages of Polish employees – like GDP – have been catching up to the EU average, albeit a little more slowly. In 2000 the average pay in Poland accounted for 23.5% of the EU average, while in 2016 (most recent comparable data) the figure was 34.4%. Compared to Germany, EU’s biggest economy, the percentage stood at 16.7% and 25.8% respectively. So, we are still quite far behind average EU pay.

According to Eurostat data, the average monthly pay in the EU amounts to EUR 2,904.30, that is approx. PLN 12,669.72. The country with the highest average pay in the EU is Luxembourg – with EUR 4,654.83 per month, which is an astounding PLN 20,336.49. Poland comes 8th last in the ranking of average pay across the EU. The average employee in Poland earns EUR 982.32 (PLN 4,287.53. The lowest amount, as little as EUR 460.72 (PLN 2,010.86), is paid monthly to workers in Bulgaria.

Current earnings in individual countries and the relevant growth rates were used to calculate how annual pay levels will be changing in the years to come. The axis presents the anticipated dates that Poland will reach the pay level of the given country.

Our calculations are based on the assumption that pay growth dynamics will remain at their current levels across the EU. If in the coming years earnings in Poland were to grow at 4.53% per year in real terms (the way they did over the past three years), with the average EU pay maintaining annual growth of 2.65%, our calculations suggest that it would take nearly 60 years for Polish wages to level up with the EU average.  The lines representing Polish and EU-average monthly earnings would only intersect in May 2077, at approx. EUR 14,620.

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