Skip to main content

woman biting pencil while sitting on chair in front of computer during daytime

Embracing Salary Transparency in Poland: Are attitudes shifting in posting salaries in job advertisements?

Salaries in Poland have always been shrouded in secrecy and very few job adverts for professionals show salaries. This can slow down recruitment processes. The reluctance to discuss salaries stems from deeply ingrained cultural norms in Poland, where conversations about money are often avoided. The lack of transparency not only affects employee morale but also can lead to pay disparities.

Poles most often (though not always) share information about their earnings with their life partners. More than half reveal it to their parents, and only every third person interviewed talks about it with their siblings. An even smaller group, only 15% of surveyed employees do not hide their salaries from their work colleagues. This is what the survey by Hays Poland and the law firm Baker McKenzie discovered. Earnings are the greatest taboo of the Polish job market. However, there’s a gradual shift towards openness, with more people recognizing the benefits of transparency.

Changing Attitudes

A large majority of employees see pay transparency as a means to speed up recruitment processes and add fairness in the workplace. Job boards such as JustJoin now require companies to show salaries in their job adverts. Also, salary transparency is slowly emerging as a key topic in discussion amongst HR departments in Polish companies.

According to the survey, only 23% of organizations operating in Poland currently maintain transparent remuneration practices. From the perspective of companies, the majority (77%) admit to a lack of transparency in their remuneration practices, with only a small percentage offering transparency within job levels or departments, let alone across the entire organisation. Nonetheless, there’s a growing acknowledgment (67%) among companies that disclosing wages could help in recruitment and managing employee expectations, despite concerns over potential risks.

On the other hand, employees see numerous opportunities in salary disclosure. A significant percentage (78%) believe it could speed up recruitment processes, while others look forward to the elimination of unjustified pay disparities (66%) and a fairer distribution of wages based on competence (58%). These perspectives highlight a desire for greater fairness and efficiency within the labor market.

Historical taboos

Wage secrecy was popularised in the 1990s by corporations. There was a the ban on disclosing their amount in many companies, as pointed out by Agnieszka Czarnecka, consulting manager at Hays in the Central and Eastern Europe region. This led to the belief that disclosing earnings was a risk. According to her, another reason for this taboo is the common opinion among Poles that a high salary does not always convey competence, but sometimes is a result of favours and connections. This could be seen as a legacy of how business operated in the early 90s.

Salary transparency and recruitment success

Despite widespread recognition of the benefits associated with disclosing wages, many Polish organizations remain hesitant to take this step, citing concerns over business risks and organisational culture. This reluctance to have pay transparency in the workplace means companies can set policies not to show salary ranges in job advertisements. This can hamper in-house recruitment departments ability to find the best talent. In Poland’s high employment economy, many job seekers will favour companies that set out clearly the roles’ salary range. They see more transparency in disclosing salaries early on in the recruitment process as saving time. Companies who advertise clear salary levels during the recruitment process are seen as forward thinking and respectful of candidates’ time.

New laws on the horizon

Looking ahead, impending legislative changes will require companies to reassess their approach to pay transparency. By 2026, EU member states, including Poland, will need to adhere to new directives aimed at promoting equal and transparent pay. These regulations will mean companies need to disclose wage information and take proactive measures to address gender pay gaps.

In conclusion, the evolving landscape of the Polish job market reflects a growing recognition of the importance of salary transparency. While challenges remain, there’s a palpable shift towards openness and fairness, driven by both regulatory changes and shifting societal attitudes. Embracing transparency in remuneration practices stands to benefit both employers and employees, fostering a more equitable and inclusive work environment.