Liberal, plugged-in and temporarily employed

A new report on Polish youth makes some surprising revelations

The departure between the values, aspirations, and lifestyles of young people in Poland and the generations that preceded it is stark, a government report on the matter has found. Poland’s youth are increasingly liberal in their outlook and are technologically savvy.

However, they also face some difficult challenges, particularly when it comes to employment. The report highlights that many young people entering the job market are hired only on temporary contracts. As a result, they are forced to continue living with their parents, since without “permanent” work contracts, they aren’t considered creditworthy enough to receive a mortgage.

Uncertainty about their future in the labor market is one of the biggest current anxieties for young people in Poland, the report finds, going as far as to say that the country risks creating a “lost generation” of 18- to 24-year-olds.

The report also finds that Poland’s young people are consumption-oriented and increasingly liberal in their social values, especially when it comes to urban youths’ approach to relationships. However, in the countryside a “radicalization of traditional values,” can be seen.

The internet is the main source of information and the most popular communication tool for Polish youths. The vast majority (93 percent) of Poles between the age of 16-24 use the internet on a regular basis, spending between 17 and 20 hours a week online.

The social group that has experienced the most change in post-communist Poland is young women. The report finds they are now better educated, more ambitious and more determined than ever to defend their position on the labor market.

At the same time, young women now face difficult choices, including the “freedom dilemma” (getting married or staying single) and the “maternity dilemma” (whether to focus on their career or their family).