You’ve made the decision to move to Poland, or maybe you’re still weighing up your options. One of the most important things you would need to think of when moving to a new country is how are you going to support yourself?
Obviously, this will depend on your skills, experience and qualifications but in Krakow you should be able to find some opportunities to suit you. Krakow is home to over 50 multinational companies including Google, Uber, Cisco, IBM, Hitachi, Heineken, Capgemini & Cathay Pacific and is trying to become Europe’s “Silicon Valley”. Krakow has been cited as one of the most popular locations for BPO projects (Business Process Outsourcing), so if your dream is to work in an office environment, you should be able to find something.
You can search for jobs on LinkedIn, or use the local job boards to look for a new position such as pracuj.pl. There are also fairly regular job fairs at some of the universities in the city, but then you will be competing with the newly graduated students. Doing your research is beneficial and finding out which companies are based here and approaching them directly also works. There are new companies coming to the market all the time.
I also recommend searching social media for groups such as Krakow Expats on Facebook, where jobs are also posted occasionally. I’m a member of that group and have actually hired a couple of people who posted there looking for work. You can also find some jobs on websites such as expat.com and other specialist expat & language job boards
You do need to check the details of any job offer to ensure they are market competitive, and they will normally include private medical cover & a multisport card. Most companies will offer a 3 month probation, and then an indefinite contract.
The private medical coverage is essential in my opinion as the main companies (Luxmed & Medicover) offer English speaking doctors. The multisport cards are pretty useful if you enjoy an active lifestyle as they give you a free gym membership that can used in multiple gyms across the country. Some companies will offer alternatives to the multisport and you can get vouchers for the cinema, or useful shops instead. If you aren’t a big fan of the gym, you can buy a fridge instead or go see the newest movies.
Some of the better companies offer life insurance, reimbursement for festival/concert tickets or other useful benefits.
Benefits that all employees get, as long as they are on an employment contract, include 4 days per year which can be used as “duvet days”, so if you don’t feel like getting up, you call your manager and stay in bed. It comes from your holiday allowance though, so you will have less overall. If you don’t have great eyesight, you can also claim back some of the costs, usually around 300zl towards your glasses.
You will either get 20 or 26 days’ holiday, and this is based on your qualifications and experience. If you have held a university degree for more than 2 years or have worked for over 10 years you get 26 days. All other cases, you get 20. I do know of some companies that increase your holiday allowance depending on your tenure with them, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.
If you get sick and need to take time off work, you have to visit a doctor. Even if you are only off work for 1 day, you have to visit a doctor and get a sick note. It’s not like the UK, where a doctor will only give you a note after 7 days absence (at least that was the case last time I was in a UK doctor’s office).
Now, the most important part for most people, how much will I get paid? Well, the National Minimum wage is 1,850zl gross, or around 1,350zl after taxes etc. When the average rental cost for a studio apartment in Krakow is around 1500zl, you're going to need to earn a bit more than minimum wage.
Based on my experience, as a manager in several companies in Krakow, the average for an entry level position in a BPO or call centre environment seems to be around 3,000zl gross. This then increases if you speak a language other than English or Polish, with Dutch & Nordic languages being the most sought after. Team leaders or managers can expect to be paid anywhere from 6,000zl to well over 10,000zl.
IT & Finance professionals are highly sought after in Krakow as well, with several large financial institutions (HSBC, UBS, State Street, Brown Brothers Harriman) and a few large IT companies (Cisco, IBM, Delphi, Lumesse), having large offices here.
If you can find a job you enjoy with a decent enough salary, then employees are generally well looked after here and well protected by the law as well.