Are you looking to land a job abroad? Poland offers great health care, the great international community, activities for every taste, low cost of living, no language barriers, and the fact that it’s in a great central location in Europe are just a few of the reasons to make Poland your home. It’s one of the largest countries in the European Union (EU) and has one of the most developed economies in the world, offering a wide range of jobs and income levels. If you’re considering Poland as your next career move, finding a job with good pay will be on top of your list of things to do.
So, what is the average salary in Poland? The average gross salary in Poland currently stands at $2,335/month or $28,022 a year for salaried jobs. Hourly jobs, on the other hand, pay an average of $13.48/hour. The average net salary after tax and other compulsory deductions such as social security and health insurance is $990/month. Residents in the Polish capital earn the most but also experience the highest cost of living in the country.
Job prospects in Poland are looking good with economic surveys showing that the labour market is booming. This is evidenced by the low unemployment rate of 3.3%, which has constantly been below the EU’s average. The country is also one of the best countries for female workers. As a popular tourist destination, there will be plenty to explore in your free time. Poland’s central location in Europe allows you to experience a mix of eastern and western European cultures, and even learn a new language. All this sounds quite impressive, right? To help you transition into the Poland job market, I’ll cover all there is to know about working and living in this country, including Poland’s economic state, salaries offered, the cost of living, and job opportunities for foreigners. So, let’s get started:
Average Salary in Poland
The average income depends very much on the profession as well. Here are the average monthly gross salaries of common job titles in Poland:
- Accountant – $1,523
- Attorney – $3,228
- CAD drafter – $1,720
- Cashier – $1,248
- Chef – $1,863
- CEO – $5,095
- Computer technician – $1,760
- Dentist – $5,350
- Developer/programmer – $1,985
- Engineer – $2,030
- General Manager – $3,868
- Human resource manager – $3,008
- Internal auditor – $2,346
- Pharmacist – $2,628
- Police officer – $1,845
- Secretary – $1,257
- Teacher – $1,764
- Waitstaff – $1,337
Given that Poland is an emerging economy, these average salaries are expected to increase in the coming years. That being said, keep in mind that the average salary doesn’t necessarily mean the salary you’ll be getting. Income varies greatly between cities, industries, and companies just to name a few. Here are the average monthly gross salaries of some of the best paying cities:
- Warsaw – $2,629
- Krakow – $2,560
- Wroclaw – $2,490
- Poznan – $2,190
- Gdansk – $2,127
And, here are the average monthly gross salaries in different sectors:
- IT – $2,173
- Administration – $867
- Hospitality and tourism – $859
- Real estate – $1,288
- Trade – $1,115
- Building and construction – $1,162
- Energy – $1,893
Salaries will also depend on your skills, academic credits, and the languages you speak. For instance, native speakers can make good money teaching Spanish, German, or English at an average of 50 PLN ($13.00)/hour, which is almost 4 times higher than the minimum wage/hour. Those working in the IT department earn a very decent salary, even compared to Western European income standards; the same goes for self-employed individuals. In case you’re wondering what a good salary is, it all depends on the kind of lifestyle you want to adopt. Anything above the average salary will afford you a relatively high standard of living.
Poland currently has one of the biggest and fastest-growing economies in Europe. It has recorded steady growth since 1990 and was the only EU country to avoid the great recession. This country is famous for farming, particularly its apple farms, but it also hosts some of the biggest tech companies like DELL.
Job opportunities for expatriates
If you’re planning to work in Poland, there are certain key sectors and industries you should look into. A majority of the workforce is in the services sector. The country’s major industries, including food processing, iron & steel, chemical, machine building, glass, coal mining, textiles, and shipbuilding also provide a wide variety of job opportunities. In addition to local companies, several multinational corporations have also opened their offices in Poland and welcome candidates from all over the world.
Since joining the UE, there’s been a growing need for Polish workers to learn the EU’s international business language. This offers lots of opportunities for native English speakers to teach English as a second language. These are also several international companies seeking English, German, Spanish, and French speakers.
While you may not need fluency in the Polish language, you may want to take Polish classes to not feel excluded from social life.
Taxation in Poland
All Polish residents must pay income tax. Expats who have lived in the country for more than 183 days within the tax year are considered fiscal residents and are taxed on their global income. The tax system is progressive, which means the higher the income the higher your income tax rate will be. There are currently two different tax rates: 18% for income between 3,091-85,528 PLN and 32% for income above 85,528 PLN. Anything below 3,091 PLN is not taxed.
Social Security System
Employees and employers are also required to contribute to the social security system. This will cover sickness and maternity benefits, accident insurance, disability, and pension. With your contributions, you’ll qualify for the same benefits as Polish nationals.
Poland Average Household Income
The Poland average annual household income per capita is updated yearly, and it’s currently available from 1995 to 2018. In December 2018, it was recorded at $5,626.554 from the previous year’s value of $5,074.324. The purpose of this data is to characterise important aspects of household socioeconomic conditions. In that case, it makes sense that we compare average household income to average household expenditure. Poland average annual household expenditure per capita was recorded at $3,943.366 in December 2018. Insight into household income and expenditure can help you identify the consumption tastes of different households, which, in turn, helps with the budgeting.
The Minimum Wage in Poland
Like most EU nations, Poland has a government-mandated minimum wage. No worker is to be paid less than this amount, and if they do, the employer may be punished by the government. The national minimum wage in Poland is reviewed every year. Sectors that are mainly affected by the minimum wage in this country include a restaurant, retail, the hotel industry, and some public sector workers.
In 2019, it was set at 2,250 PLN ($583.79) per month, which was a 7.1% increase from 2018’s value of 2,100 PLN/month. During this time, the minimum hourly rate was also raised to 14.70 PLN ($3.81). This amount is expected to rise to 2,600 PLN/month in 2020. Plus, the ruling government has promised to raise the minimum wage by about 90% in the next four years. As a result, expect the minimum wage to be around 4,000 PLN ($1,038)/month by 2024. Note that these amounts are before tax.
Poland already has one of the highest minimum wages in Central and Eastern Europe. The promised raise will definitely put daylight between Poland salaries and the rest of Europe.
Increasing the minimum wage will increase workers’ purchasing power. However, critics argue that the move will increase labour costs, which might contribute to a rise in unemployment. And, even if employers don’t lay off workers, they’ll be forced to pass these added costs on to consumers by raising prices of goods and services.
In addition to minimum age, Polish workers are entitled to at least 20 or 26 days of paid annual leave, depending on their seniority and longevity with the company. Employees are also entitled to up to 52 weeks in connection with maternity leave. Polish workers typically work 40 hours a week or 8 hours a day. Overtime is allowed but weekly working hours must not exceed 48 hours (inclusive of overtime hours).
Average Salary in Warsaw
Warsaw is the Polish capital city and the county’s most dynamic location. It has been attracting foreign workers from all over the world thanks to its open labour market and well-developed economy. If you intend to live and work in this city, it’s a good idea to enquire about salaries offered to see if they can afford you a decent lifestyle.
To get you started, salaries in Warsaw typically range from $356/month (minimum) to $11,650/month (maximum), while the median salary is at $2,709/month. Closely related to these figures is the average salary in Warsaw, which currently stands at $2,630/month or $31,555 a year. The average hourly pay is $15.04/hour. Note that these amounts are gross, which brings the average net salary after tax and other deductions to about $1,078/month. Salaries in this city are the highest in the country and generally 13% higher than those of the country. These figures go to show how wealthy Warsaw is both in the national economic sphere and in the region.
The labour market
At the heart of Polish economic restructuring, Warsaw has the highest GDP and the lowest unemployment rate in the country. This means that it has plenty of employment opportunities for expats to explore. It is home to the majority of Poland’s large companies and a good number of famous international companies. Warsaw’s economy heavily relies on the services sector, which employs two-thirds of the working population. Other biggest employers are the financial and tourism sectors.
Located in the heart of Europe, Warsaw is also a great city to start a business. The city is constantly attracting small businesses and large investments, which, in turn, creates more job opportunities.
Cost Of Living in Poland
The cost of living is much cheaper in Poland compared to other European countries. But, similar to any other country, prices will vary depending on location and one’s lifestyle. Warsaw is the most expensive city to live in, followed by Krakow, Wroclaw, and Gdansk. Here are the average costs of common household expenses in Poland:
- Shared flat/dormitory – $88-170/month
- One-bedroom apartment – $490/month in the city centre and $379/month in the outskirts
- 3-bedroom apartment – $828/month in the city centre and $631 in the outskirts
Buying is another way of acquiring housing in Poland. Expect to spend about $2,313.06/square metre to buy an apartment in the city centre or $1,582/square metre in the outskirts. In case you’re looking to buy on credit, Poland mortgages are easy to come by and lender requirements are quite similar to other EU countries. In addition to rent/mortgage payments, you’ll need to budget for utilities. On average, basic utilities for an 85m2 apartment cost $170/month.
Food is also fairly cheap in Poland. Common food prices include:
- A loaf of bread (500g) – $0.76
- A dozen eggs – $1.95
- A litre of regular milk – $0.63
- Apples (1kg) – $0.77
- Local cheese (1kg) – $6.04
- White rice (1kg) – $0.86
- Tomatoes (1kg) – $1.47
- Potatoes (1kg) – $0.57
- Chicken breasts (1kg) – $4.20
- A basic meal in a cheap restaurant – $5.44
- Combo meal in a fast-food restaurant – $4.92
- A one-way ticket on the local public transport – $0.83
- Monthly travel pass – $25.77
- Taxi start – $1.76
- Gasoline – $1.30/litre
In addition to these costs, there are several other costs you’ll need to budget for depending on your needs. This includes clothing, entertainment, internet, telephone/mobile, and health insurance just to name a few. On average, a single expat will spend about $520 while an average family will spend $1,770 on monthly expenses (excluding rent/mortgage payments).
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.