Poland’s capital city Warsaw is the 19th wealthiest region in the EU (European Union) according to Eurostat. Still, in the EU, it is the 7th most-populous capital city with a population of 1.8 million residents. In the global economy, Warsaw is considered an alpha world city, a major economic hub, and a significant tourist destination. The Warsaw economy has developed globally, nationally, and regionally. It accounts for over 12% of the country’s foreign investment. Considering the increasing trends in GDP, GDP purchasing power parity (GDP PPP), employment rates, and salaries, Warsaw might leave many European metropolises behind and even catch up with great economies like Berlin. Let’s see what you can do to work in this mighty economy.
Note that the currency used throughout this article is US Dollars. At the time of writing 1 United States Dollar = 4.26 Poland Złoty.
So, what is the average salary in Warsaw? The average gross monthly salary in Warsaw is 4,748 USD or 56,837 USD a year. Those who work hourly jobs can expect an average pay of $27.99/hour. These figures are inclusive of employee benefits such as housing and transport, which will bring the net salary at a lower figure as we’ll see under tax rates.
Warsaw is the most diverse region in Poland with large numbers of expats residing in it, all thanks to its open labour market and a developed robust economy. In 2019, the number of foreigners was estimated to be over 40,000. This shows the openness of the city towards foreign expertise. If you want to work and live in this city, it is important to have an insight into its labour market and way of life. What are the salaries in Warsaw? Can expats find jobs there? How is taxation, what are the labour laws in Warsaw? Find the answers to these and many other questions you might have about working in Warsaw below.
Average Salary in Warsaw
The lowest average salary in Warsaw is 643.764 USD per month while the highest average is 21,021.84 USD. The amount of salary paid depends on several factors, including the following:
The amount of salary you receive first depends on your job title. Different job titles describe one’s qualifications and roles in the workplace. Here’s a list of popular jobs in Warsaw and their average gross monthly salaries:
- Accountant 2,890.49 USD
- Internal Auditor 4,588.80 USD
- Graphic Designer 3,043.59 USD
- Photographer 2,949.60 USD
- Pilot 5,360.01 USD
- Architect 3,979.05 USD
- Translator 3,766.05
- General Manager 7,764.14 USD
- Travel Agent 3,615.23 USD
- Dentist 10,324.31 USD
- Dietician 9,951.43 USD
- Nurse 3,332.68 USD
- Human Resources Officer 3,564.23 USD
- Police Officer 3,650.89 USD
- Attorney 6,481.16 USD
- Legal Assistant 3,305.48 USD
- Journalist 4,141.48 USD
- Pharmacist 4,867.85 USD
- Cashier 2,620.99 USD
The capability of an employer to pay a certain amount varies with how much they can afford and how much profit they are making. Small companies pay lower wages compared to large companies. The highest-paying employer in Warsaw is Orange, offering an annual average salary of 118,000 USD. Following behind Orange is Boston Consulting Group at 90,000 USD, RBS at 58,000 USD, PKO Bank Polski at 57,000 USD, PwC at 56,000 USD, and Credit Agricole at 44,000 USD per annum.
Level of education
Your level of education and even quality of education can affect your pay. If you earn a degree from a top institution, you will have an upper hand when seeking a job than other candidates without one. Education qualification from a weak institution will obviously lower your potential. In Warsaw, Diploma and certificate holders earn 17% more than high school leavers. Those with PhD earn the highest in salary rankings.
Level of experience
Typically, the more the years of working experience, the higher the salary. Therefore, when negotiating a job it is important to emphasise on your level of experience. That might determine if you qualify, under-qualify, or over-qualify. In Warsaw, employees with an experience of 2 to 5 years earn on average 32% more compared to first-timers. If your level of experience exceeds 5 years, you earn 36% more than the former. Your salary will also increase by another 21% at ten years and 14% more after 15 years.
Every individual earning an income in Warsaw or rather Poland must pay income tax. Anyone earning up to 19,990.23 USD is charged 17% tax. Those earning above 19,990.23 USD are taxed at a rate of 32%. Income tax is deducted from all sources of income, including employment income, business activity, income from work and art performance, rental income, sale of real property, income from capital, and so on.
Warsaw Average Income per Person
The easiest way to measure the average income per person in Warsaw is to look at its GDP per capita. GDP per capita is used as an indicator of economic performance and a measure of comparing average living standards or economic well-being of the population of a specific region. Warsaw has the third-highest GDP per capita among the East-Central European cities with a percentage of 152 of the EU average. In 2017, the GDP per capita of Warsaw was 48,937.88 USD which was 218.7% of the national average. With such a high GDP per capita, Warsaw is actually an outlier for Poland.
Minimum Wage in Warsaw
Minimum wage is the lowest remuneration that employers are legally allowed to give to employees either per month of per hour. The government of Poland has a mandatory National Minimum Wage (NMW) set for all its employees. All the employers in the country must comply with this rule, including those in Warsaw. Failure to do so can lead to some serious legal consequences. With that being said, the NMW in Poland is 2,600 PLN (607.309 USD). This is a 15.6% increase from the 2019 NMW that was recorded at 2,250 PLN (524.987 USD). The Polish government has also announced the NMW for the year 2021 as 3,000 PLN (700.537) and a subsequent increase of 10% per annum up to the year 2024. This minimum wage only applies to full-time employees who are paid per month despite the number of hours worked. The law also sets the minimum pay per hour at 17 PLN (3.96 USD). This particular law applies to part-time employees who receive hourly wages.
The presence of an official minimum wage in Warsaw acts as a shield to protect employees from exploitation. It also allows workers to afford a comfortable lifestyle as it is set to meet their needs. Moreover, the Warsaw workforce has become stable with the minimum wage acting as an incentive, encouraging employees to be productive.
Apart from NMW, the Polish labour law also gives directions on working conditions. For starters, employees are allowed to work up to a maximum of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. Even with overtime hours included, the working time per week should not exceed six days or 48 hours.
Warsaw Income Distribution
The level of inequality in income distribution in Warsaw was recorded as 0.456 using the Gini index, and this value was lower than that of the national average. The Gini index or coefficient is a statistical unit used to measure the distribution of income and at times, wealth distribution. Income distribution determines the extent of poverty or wellness of people by determining how the total GDP is distributed. The main cause of uneven income distribution in Warsaw is income inequality. Other causes include government tax and monetary policies, as well as the growing economic market that tends to move away from manufacturing to focus on service provision.
The median salary in Warsaw is 5,032.97 USD per month. This means that half the population earns more than this amount while the other half earns below this amount. The median is the middle salary value and you should gauge your earnings using it to ensure you are on the higher-earning group. Using percentiles as the indicators, 25% of the population earns less than 2,550.72 USD while the other 75% earns above that. Still, on the percentiles, 75% of the population earns below 13,802 USD while the remaining 25% earns above that.
There’s also gender inequality in Warsaw with male employees earning 7% more than female employees in the same profession. The average monthly salary for women is 4,046.30 USD while that of men is 4,359 USD.
People earn different incomes depending on their work productivity, seniority, the level of education, occupied position, and working time so income distribution is almost always uneven. Although income distribution is uneven in Warsaw, it is slightly decreasing compared to wealth inequality.
Warsaw Job Market
Warsaw is home to many international companies, multinational companies, national institutions, and government agencies that provide numerous job opportunities. The Warsaw Stock Exchange and the National Bank of Poland are based here, both of which employ so many people in Poland. Due to so many job opportunities, the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Poland. It was recorded at 2.6% in 2019. One of the reasons for the dynamic growth in this economy is the effective utilisation of skilled residents. Before moving into Warsaw or accepting the job offer you have received, it is important to learn about the specifics of its labour market which include:
Working as an expat
For starters, Warsaw avails many job opportunities for foreigners. Most foreign professionals in the area are employed in finance, business, education, and tourism spheres. Teaching English is also highly demanded, especially in private training centres, colleges, and universities. For this reason, teachers are unlikely to struggle to get a job in Warsaw.
Having some knowledge of Polish to accompany your good command of English is the key to getting any job in Warsaw. This is, of course, in addition to your skills and qualifications. English is widely spoken in the business environment but most employers will expect that you can at least make a conversation in Polish. You also need to have secured a job before moving into the city.
If you are an EU citizen, you do not require work permits to work in Warsaw or any other part of Poland. However, non-EU citizens are required to get a work permit, which is often applied for by a Polish employer. The employer must prove that they could not get any Polish candidate for the vacancy. Some categories of people such as students, artists, and the clergy are exempted from such restrictions.
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.