October 23, 2018 / 4:09 PM / a month ago

Poland's biggest construction firm pays for help in finding workers

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s biggest construction firm Budimex (BDXP.WA) has become the first in its sector to offer cash incentives to anyone who helps it find new workers at a time of the lowest unemployment in decades, the company said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A construction site is pictured in the center of Warsaw, Poland September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

Almost half of Polish companies in Poland face problems finding new employees, a report showed in August.

The construction industry has been particularly affected, as infrastructure funding from the European Union has driven growth at a time that it has been losing workers to higher-paying EU markets such as Germany and Britain.

“We are the largest employer in the construction market in Poland and a responsible employer,” Budimex said in a statement. “We were one of the few companies on the market that did not reduce employment in 2014-2016 when the construction industry faced a reduction in the number of orders.”

The company, which recruits through agencies, internal recommendations and job advertisements, said it will now pay up to 2,000 zlotys ($534.00) to anyone who helps it employ a worker for a specific job.

“We are currently looking for specialized construction managers, engineers and masters in many branches, especially in the field of rail and buildings construction,” Budimex said.

The company has increased its average pay for manual workers by 20 percent over the last year, it said.

Budimex, which is owned by Spain’s Ferrovial (FER.MC), said it plans to hire 1,100 workers by the end of 2019. The group has already increased employment to more than 7,000 people from 4,500 four years ago.

It mostly employs Polish workers but last year started hiring foreign staff, mostly from Ukraine, as Poland struggles to compete with other European Union countries in attracting EU workers.

The unemployment rate in Poland, which has one of the fastest aging societies in the European Union, has for months been the lowest since 1990, at 5.7 percent in September.

Poland’s construction industry needs an extra 100,000 workers to handle a surge in public sector projects and save more companies from bankruptcy, Budimex’s chief executive told Reuters in June.

($1 = 3.7453 zlotys)

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Jan Harvey

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