Working in Poland

Since joining the EU, the Polish economy has flourished. Poles are industrious and the country’s educated workforce has helped attract multinational companies to its shores. Poland offers good opportunities for investment and career progression.

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Doing business

Poland’s strategic position in Central Europe and its fast-developing economy has made it a popular destination for foreign business investment.

Poland ranked 13th out 31 countries for economic confidence in our 2018 Expat Explorer Survey. It also ranked 27th out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey for 2018, scoring particularly well in the area of trading across borders, where it took the top spot.

In business, the Polish communicate directly – so what you see is usually what you get. There is a strong respect for those in senior positions or with higher academic qualifications. Trust is paramount if you want to be successful in the Polish workplace, so be sure to spend time getting to know business associates in a social setting.

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Business culture

Business in Poland is a formal affair where punctuality and appearances are valued. You should invest time getting to know Polish business associates in order to build trust and forge solid relationships.

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Communication style

While Poles can be reserved, their communication style is direct – eye contact is important and seen as a sign of respect and trust. People are expected to address matters directly.

Management style

Business structures are hierarchical – decisions are made at the top and authority is respected. Academic achievements and titles are highly valued and you should address colleagues formally until told otherwise.

Work ethic

The Polish are hardworking and industrious. You might need to get used to working without a formal lunch break.

Social occasions

Personal relationships are important and you should try to build trust with Polish colleagues and get to know them on a personal level. Family life and sports are good conversation topics but avoid discussing money or Poland’s history and relations with its European neighbours.

Fast facts

Business Language:

Polish is the official language of business but English may be spoken in business circles, especially in larger cities.

Business hours:

Usually from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, without a formal lunch break during the working day.

Dress:

Polish business dress is formal and conservative. Businessmen wear dark suits and ties. Smart skirts, dresses and trousers are all acceptable for women.

Greeting:

A firm handshake and direct eye contact is the most common business greeting. Introductions should include a person’s full name and title.

Gifts:

Giving gifts is an established practice in Polish business. Gifts are usually given at the beginning of a relationship and at the completion of a project.

Gender equality:

Women have similar opportunities as men, although most high-ranking positions are still held by men.

Expat salaries:

Salaries in Poland are amongst the lowest in Europe and employment packages are rarely as lucrative as you would find in other popular expat destinations.

It's a great opportunity to earn more money, see the world and meet different people.

Expat Explorer Survey respondent

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All Expat Explorer survey data and all tips (in quotation marks) are provided by HSBC.

All other content is provided by expatarrivals.com, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in June 2018. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

Always remember to ensure you are aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.