Poles and development. Report on the approach to personal and professional development of different generations of Poles

Warsaw, 08 June 2015

How do the Poles define personal and professional development? What action do they take for development? Benefit Systems has prepared a report on the personal and professional development of Poles.

Earnings, though no longer sufficient, are still the most important

Although there is more and more research on the market on the expectations of employees towards the employers which show that the salary is not all – they expect additional benefits, for the majority of respondents the most important aspects of work are earnings (45%) and the working atmosphere (32%). These aspects are especially important for young Poles up to the age of 34. Subsequently, the respondents mentioned integrity and professionalism (28%) and convenient working hours (13%). Professional development is mentioned by only 4% of all respondents – 1% of the rural population, but 13% of the inhabitants of the largest cities. For people aged 18-24 the approach of the superiors is also very important – it is mentioned by as much as 35% of respondents in this age range, while only 12% of Poles in general believe this to be an important aspect.

The survey showed that professional development is for Poles, above all, an improvement of competence and acquiring new skills – as many as 63% respondents mentioned them, followed by promotion – 21%, and obtaining additional privileges at work – 18%. Nearly half of Poles (43%) has not taken any action for the development of skills necessary in their professional work over the last year.

Family, children, and relationship is what matters in personal life

Outside professional life, family, children, and relationship are by far the most important for Poles – they are spontaneously mentioned by 72% of respondents. Every third person also lists in this context rest, interests and hobbies, as well as health. For inhabitants of major cities and people working in companies employing more than ten (10) persons issues of family relationships and rest are particularly important. Personal development as an important aspect of non-vocational life is mentioned by 4% of the respondents, and among the youngest (up to the age 24) as many as 18%.

There is no clear definition of personal development – respondents spontaneously mention a number of definitions, and every third person in general is not able to say what personal development means for him/her. The most common definitions of personal development include learning new skills (23%), fulfilling dreams and goals (17%), or taking care of relationships with other people and taking care of the family (12%). Every third Pole has not taken any action for their personal development over the last year. The most frequently mentioned activities included sports activities, reading books, and various courses and trainings.

What is more important – personal or professional development?

The majority of Poles admits that both these areas of development are important to them (59%), for every third of them (34%) the personal area is more important, and only 5% mentions the professional one. Family and friends are the main groups who support Poles in their development – 87% of respondents mentioned them among the most important people, with such support from the family most often mentioned by women. The main obstacles in terms of development spontaneously mentioned by the respondents are lack of money (18%) and lack of time (14%).

The vast majority of Poles admits that they develop in order to be better human beings (82%) and to be better at what they do (77%). Most are also of the opinion that development requires a lot of self-discipline (76%), but, on the other hand, they treat development as pleasure (76%). Young people are a bit more idealistic in their approach to development – they often perceive development in terms of improvement (92%), while those aged 44-59 often admit that they feel a pressure on professional development (33%), and people aged 35-44 are more often of the opinion that development requires a lot of money (39%).

Different generations – different attitudes

The labour market is being entered by the representatives of successive generations, whose approach to work, development, and life, as well as expectations, differ radically from the approach of their older colleagues. It is a big challenge for the employers and the HR departments to adapt the company's policy to the increasing diversity.

Younger generations attach more importance to such matters as the superior's approach, or convenient working hours. Working atmosphere is for them also very important. Thus, the changes introduced by the employers in their companies are not so surprising – more focus on development, working atmosphere, health of the employees, interesting and inspirational benefits, relaxation rooms or napping at work, says Izabela Pipka, Head of HR at Benefit Systems.

The “Poles and Development” survey shows that people over the age of 45 believe that the salary (38%) and integrity and professionalism (32%) are important. For the representatives of the X generation (35+) the things that count include earnings (47%), working atmosphere (36%) and integrity and professionalism (31%).  The greatest differences can be observed in the approach of the youngest generation of employees. Respondents aged 18-24 appreciate most of all earnings (60%), working atmosphere (50%) and the superior's approach (35%) and aged 25-34 – earnings (46%), working atmosphere (41%) and... convenient working hours (23%).