+++ NOTE (BBG) After Poland, J. Martins Sees Challenges Hiring Portugal Workers



…”Challenges in Hiring Portugal Workers” says Jeronimo Martins SGPS SA Soares    dos Santos CEO…”


“In Poland we have five to six thousand positions to fill,” Chief Executive Officer Pedro Soares dos Santos said at a press conference in Lisbon on Thursday. “We’re also facing difficulties hiring in Portugal.”

…A company absolutely remarkable…


(Bloomberg) — More than 2,000 miles separate Portugal from
Poland, but the nations have one thing in common: Their economic
recoveries have helped lift sales at Jeronimo Martins SGPS SA
while increasing pressure on the retailer to raise wages as it
struggles to find workers.
Sales at Jeronimo Martins — which controls Poland’s
biggest supermarket chain, Biedronka, and Portugal’s Pingo Doce,
and is expanding in Colombia — jumped 11.3 percent in 2017 from
a year earlier to a record 16.3 billion euros ($19.9 billion),
it said in a filing Wednesday. The surge came amid strong
economic growth and a sharp decline in the unemployment rate
that is boosting consumption in both countries.
“In Poland we have five to six thousand positions to fill,”
Chief Executive Officer Pedro Soares dos Santos said at a press
conference in Lisbon on Thursday. “We’re also facing
difficulties hiring in Portugal.”
In Poland, child subsidies and rising minimum wages
prompted the company last year to review its compensation
package. It’s doing the same in Portugal after the country’s
Socialist government raised the minimum wage by 4.1 percent to
580 euros a month this year, the fourth increase since the
country completed a bailout program in 2014. The main pledge of
the governments in both Poland and Portugal is to replace an
economic model that has been mostly driven on low labor costs
with one that is focused on higher-value production.

Cheap Jobs

Portugal is western Europe’s second-cheapest country in
terms of hourly labor costs, while Polish workers are the sixth-
lowest earners in the European Union, according to data compiled
by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency.
“It’s not enough to have a job — we need better jobs,”
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Wednesday in
Portugal’s economy expanded at 2.7 percent last year, the
fastest pace since 2000, and unemployment fell to 8.1 percent in
the fourth quarter from a record 17.5 percent in 2013, according
to Portugal’s National Statistics Institute. Poland’s economy
expanded 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the fastest in six
years, while unemployment fell to a record 4.5 percent in that
period, according to Poland’s Central Statistical Office.


That’s good news for workers, who are getting wage
increases and moving to better jobs after years of low pay. A
third of Polish employers plan to offer higher salaries, Warsaw-
based recruiting and human-resources provider Work Service SA
said Wednesday. In Portugal, it’s “increasingly normal” for
firms to increase wages as they struggle to fill vacant jobs in
industries ranging from retail to tourism, said Joao Duque, a
finance professor at the University of Lisbon’s School of
Economics and Management.
Jeronimo Martins, which has 2,823 Biedronka stores in
Poland and 422 Pingo Doce stores in Portugal, raised salaries in
both countries in 2017 and plans to continue to adjust its
compensation package in Portugal this year, Soares dos Santos
said. The company, whose entry-level positions already pay more
than the minimum wage, gave out 107 million euros in bonuses in
2017 and is studying a way for its 104,000 workers to have the
chance to own some of the company’s stock.
“In Poland, we have been adjusting our salaries, and in
Portugal we are doing exactly the same thing,” Soares dos Santos
said. “But there is one thing here: This isn’t a common good; it
has to do with merit.”