‘Shift in sentiments’ – Poles’ attitude towards Ukrainians is changing

By John Cody
2 Min Read

Polish employers hold Ukrainian workers in high regard, appreciating their quick adaptability, diligence, and ability to quickly learn the Polish language, as noted in the latest “Polish Labor Market Barometer” by Personnel Service. A significant 78 percent of firms have a positive or neutral attitude towards Ukrainian workers.

However, this employer satisfaction is increasingly not mirrored in the wider Polish society. There has been a notable “erosion of sentiment,” with only one in four individuals expressing a positive or somewhat positive view of Ukrainians, representing a 10-percentage point drop from the previous year.

The shift in public sentiment is attributed to fears that Ukrainian workers might contribute to lowering the pace of wage increases, with 41 percent of respondents expressing concern. Additionally, one in five sees the workforce from the east as competition in the job market.

Krzysztof Inglot, founder of Personnel Service and a labor market expert, believes that the declining Polish sentiment towards Ukrainians stems from a change in perception and “a natural erosion of mood.” Initially, solidarity was exceptionally high, but as time passes, familiarization and general fatigue from providing aid could lead to mounting negative opinions.

While half of the workers expressed a neutral attitude towards Ukrainians in Poland, the positive sentiment has fallen by 10 percentage points from the previous study to 25 percent. Conversely, negative attitudes have increased by 4 percentage points to 18 percent.

Labor market experts explain that the change in sentiment is also driven by fears of job loss or reduced wages.

Twenty-one percent of Poles fear losing their jobs to Ukrainians, with the youngest age group (18-24 years) feeling the most threatened. Meanwhile, 41 percent of Poles are concerned that the influx of workers from the east could slow wage growth, yet only 32 percent believe that immigration from the east poses no threat to pay raises.

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