Disruption has become the new normal - interview with Enrique Sanchez

Adding date: 21.02.2019 | Poland

Wiktor Doktór: Mr. Sanchez, welcome to Poland. It’s a great honour to have you in Poland, especially in times where this is employee who dictates the employment conditions. Can you give us an overall picture of the recruitment challenges in Europe, please?

Enrique Sanchez [Regional Head of Iberia, Italy, Eastern Europe & MENA]: Today’s world economy stands out for its complexity, uncertain­ty, and breath-taking pace of technological change. This is why disruption has become the new normal. Keeping abreast of developments requires extraordinary understanding and agility. In these challenging conditions I recognize five key megatrends that affect the European labour market. Low fertility rate (fertility gradually decreases and for almost 30 years, it has not reached the value of "2" - necessary to replace generations. In 1990, the fertility rate in Poland was 1.989, in 2000 it was 1.376, and in 2015 - 1,289) and ageing population (The median age has increased by about 4 years since 2002 in EU-28.) requires from us lifelong learning and continuous reskilling and upskilling. Skills imbalances, due to fast-paced technology advance with which we fight by creating work-based training opportunities. Thanks to Adecco Way to Work we created over 20 000 since 2015. The third megatrend is Gig Economy. With innovative YOSS freelancers’ market place we provide quality and compliance for employers and network, social benefits, admin support and cash collection for freelancers. The currency of the Gig economy is data - and this is the fourth megatrend. Last but not least is a necessity to combine automation and flexible HR solutions. We need to Increase efficiency, save time, lower our cost-to-serve.

Wiktor Doktór: How does Poland look like, when comparing the recruitment area in this country to other countries in CEE Region?

Enrique Sanchez: A characteristic of Poland and some other countries from that region (like Czech Republic or Hungary) is very low level of unemployment (5.8% in December) and dominant position of employees which is reflected in wages increase among other (by about 6% yearly in December). Such a low level of the unemployment rate creates many challenges for entrepreneurs who are looking for employees, both blue and white collars. Employers are not always able to take opportunities for growth due to a lack of specialists.

On the other hand, the Polish labour market is facing similar dilemmas as the rest of the European Union, such as the brain drain (in this case Poland is more and more often not only a supplier but also a beneficiary - in 2017 in Poland 210648 applications for work permits for citizens of Ukraine were filed, of which 192 547 ended with the issuance of such a permit.), technological development or automation.

Wiktor Doktór: In Poland we have observed a significant demand for IT type of jobs – software developers, application designers, coders, analytics, etc. – is that the same in Italy and Spain for example?

Enrique Sanchez: These countries also have lively IT sectors. Understanding the role of AI and automation in the changes taking place in the modern economy is the key to a growth in a near future. Spain is looking for new sources of growth and new possibilities after years of stasis. It has cheap labour as for EU standards and offers a good standard of living at relatively low cost. It has a potential to attract IT employees but probably an access to well-educated IT workforce is an advantage of Poland.

Wiktor Doktór: How about “Millenials”. We heard a lot of stories about people who were born with the mobile device in their hands, and their approach to work. Is the profile of young employees generation changing or still remains as we know it from few previous years?

Enrique Sanchez: Despite outstanding familiarity with new technologies, many young people find it difficult to enter the labour market after graduating from education. The reason is often lack of specific skills and experience. Even in Poland where unemployment rate is very low, among young people is twice bigger than in the whole population. The same trend can be observed in many countries of the European Union. In Italy or Spain it is a really huge problem. The mismatch between education and business needs is one of the topics addressed in the last years Inovantage report (Inovantage, June ’18 Skills of the Future). In this years GTCI report we described the ability of countries to attract talented people, and education tailored to market needs was one of the criteria. Although Poland received a high mark for the formal education system (27th place in the world, we are much worse in terms of lifelong learning (64th place) and access to development opportunities (80th place).

Adecco addresses these issues with ideas such as Experience Work Day and CEO for One Month, part of our Way to Work program focused on youth employment. Both programs are aimed at facilitating young people's start of professional life, as well as creating media noise around the problem of youth unemployment and what causes them. Applications for this years edition of CEO for One Month has just started.

Wiktor Doktór: If you could share your one advice to employers from Business Support Services industry (BPO, SSC, GBC), what would it be?

Enrique Sanchez: Poland is currently one of the most prominent hubs of BPO/SSC. This is a chance, but also a threat. Poland should consider if its economy is ready for the workforce automatization. With the spreading popularity of workforce automation, one of the leading advantages of polish economy – (still) cheap labour of highly skilled individuals, may fade.

Wiktor Doktór: One tricky question for the end – if you were to suggest in which European country is the easiest and the fastest way to employ employers for IT projects, what country it would be?

Enrique Sanchez: With a great HR partner with an ecosystem of different services, hiring and developing IT talents is doable everywhere.

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