Poland in an integrated European economy: Are foreign language skills valued by employers in the Polish labor market?


  • Vera A Adamchik University of Houston-Victoria
  • Thomas J Hyclak Lehigh University
  • Piotr Sedlak Cracow University of Economics




wage differentials, human capital, foreign language knowledge, transitional economies, confirmatory factor analysis


It seems self-evident that ability to speak a language other than one’s native tongue would be an economically valuable skill in many labor market situations. A large empirical literature, for example, has identified a significant positive effect on wages for immigrant workers who develop fluency in the language of their migration destination. Much less attention has been paid to possible labor market advantages from mastery of a foreign language by workers remaining in their home country. We present an empirical study of the effect of foreign language ability on the base wage of full-time workers in Poland in 2014 using a unique data set with over 100,000 survey responses. Our results confirm that English has a particularly strong quantitative effect on wage levels, and competence in French and German also enhances wages but to a lesser extent than knowledge of English. The wage effect of foreign language skills appears stronger in the private sector, in foreign-owned firms and in regions more closely integrated with foreign trade.


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Author Biographies

Vera A Adamchik, University of Houston-Victoria

Associate Professor of Economics

Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance

School of Business Administration

Thomas J Hyclak, Lehigh University

Professor of Economics

Department of Economics

College of Business and Economics


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How to Cite

Adamchik, V. A., Hyclak, T. J., & Sedlak, P. (2019). Poland in an integrated European economy: Are foreign language skills valued by employers in the Polish labor market?. Journal Transition Studies Review, 26(1), 31-55. https://doi.org/10.14665/1614-4007-26-1-003