|In April 2007 Ukraine and Poland were named by UEFA, as co-hosts for the Euro 2012 football tournament
Up to 1,300 Polish people a week, or 66,000 in a full year, of the estimated 200,000 plus Poles in Ireland, plan on leaving Ireland over the coming 12 months according to a client survey carried out by CPL, Ireland's largest recruitment agency. The poll of Poles covered more than 500.
The main poll findings were:
- " 33% of all those surveyed plan on leaving Ireland within the next 12 months
- " A further 13% say they will leave within the next two years
- " 9% of the Poles said they would "never leave Ireland"
- " Money was the main deciding factor for people to leave with 75% citing income as their main driver with family coming a close second.
- " 85% of those polled believe they will get a job in Poland within three months
The email survey was taken in the first three weeks of November 2008. The vast bulk (82%) of respondents were aged between 25 and 31 with women accounting for just over a half (57%) of all answers. Almost all (94%) had permanent jobs in Ireland and have been in Ireland between 2-5 years. Two thirds of the respondents were single.
Business group IBEC's director of policy Danny McCoy said last month that there was a possibility that 100,000 people had already left the country, which would be "a calamity" for the Irish economy.
"We don't know if it is true yet, but we need to find out," he said. "It could explain the extraordinarily bad retail sales figures, and it could have catastrophic effect on domestic Irish business."
He said that policies to steer the country through the downturn would be quite different if much of the influx of people during the boom had been reversed. "I don't have answers yet myself, but I am more and more convinced that this is not a cyclical downturn, but a structural break which will take us to a different level.
"This recession will affect middle-class, white-collar workers much more than previous downturns, and we may need different policies for assistance and incentives to deal with it," McCoy said.
As many as 300,000 Poles — more than a quarter of those who came to the UK in the past four years — may have departed in the last year, Wiktor Moszczynski, spokesman for the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, said last week.
Poland's economy has boomed in recent years and Prime Minister Donald Tusk last month urged Poles living in Britain to return home. Tusk said Britain's economy is sicker than Poland's, although his government lowered its forecast for next year's economic growth to 3.7%, from 4.8%.
Another change since 2004, is that a paycheck in Britain no longer is worth as much. One British pound equals only 4.53 Polish zlotys, compared to more than 7 zlotys in 2004.
According to CPL's Country Manager for Poland, Agnieszka Walter,
"CPL had initially attracted many highly skilled people to Ireland when there was a labour shortage here so as thing slow down here we have many of the same people approaching us to see what job conditions were like back home in Poland. But rather than rely on anecdotal evidence we wanted to be able to approach Polish employers with hard facts as to what types of people with what types of skills wanted to go home and that's why we undertook the survey.
"You should also understand that despite the international economic gloom the Polish economy is still forecast to grow by around 5.5% this year, following a 4% rise last year. People who have worked in Ireland are highly sought after in Poland because of their excellent English speaking abilities and also the Irish customer service training many of them have received, is highly prized in Poland.
"Another big factor that has led to a sudden surge in departures is the change in Polish tax laws that will mean from next month personal tax rates will be a maximum of 32%. And, though wage rates are not as high as they are in Ireland, the Polish cost of living that can be up to 50% cheaper, making it an attractive package overall.
"At CPL we spotted the beginning of the trend of Poles who wanted to go home about two years ago and we opened our first office in Warsaw. Given the level of business we have now opened a second office in Kracow and we have put a full country team in place. We have over 450 high-end vacancies at the moment, mostly in the financial services/engineering/architectural and IT areas. One of the most surprising enquiries that we've had in the last month were the three separate calls we got from relatively senior Irish bankers who were trying to find out if there were senior vacancies in Poland. I was able to give those people some good news as there are many opportunities with those with world class skills, and given the work is servicing international clients the ability to speak Polish isn't a necessity."