Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Plitvice Lakes National Park Struggling for Staff, Some Facilities Closed

July the 13th, 2022 - The Croatian labour force continues to dwindle as a result of ongoing demographic issues and the ease of simply heading off to another EU member state to find work, higher wages and more general economic stability. Even Plitvice Lakes National Park is suffering.

The global coronavirus pandemic only forced the hand of this longtime trend, seeing what were qualified and skilled chefs, waiters, bar staff and people in other such positions go off to work either elsewhere, or train for new careers as the virus saw what put food on their tables closed during lockdowns. Now that Croatia's tourist season this year seems as if it's going to be just as good (if not better) than that of the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019 - you just can't get the staff, yet again.

These issues aren't just plaguing the coast, although that part of the country is undoubtedly being hit the hardest. Plitvice Lakes National Park, the most well known Croatian national park of all, is struggling to come across qualified staff, and some of their facilities have unfortunately had to remain closed as a result of these problems.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Plitvice Lakes National Park, known for its gorgeous cascading waterfalls and unreal hues of blue and green, is by far the country's most visited national park, attracting hoardes from all over the world.

This year, there are forty percent fewer guests than the record year of 2019, so the park's management decided not to open some facilities at all. They are also struggling with finding employees, they are missing waiters, cooks and salespeople the most. Most visited back in 2019, at the peak of the summer tourist season, more than twelve thousand people entered Plitvice Lakes National Park on a daily basis, writes HRT.

"It's actually in our interest that those excessive crowds don't happen again, and financially we are very close to reaching the figures we saw during those record years," said Tomislav Kovacic, the director of the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park.

This year, due to the absence of large groups back during the pre-season as well as the absence of some guests who would usually arrive by plane, the park's management decided not to open some facilities such as the Bellevue Hotel, and the Borje camp and its accompanying restaurant.

"It's primarily our assessment that the facilities are not needed for this summer season, but they are ready if the need arises in August, we will manage to open them up in a few days if that ends up being the case,'' Kovacevic assured.

Although they had announced two tenders in which they'd have hired seasonal workers for summer 2022, there were still not enough applications for the positions of cooks, waiters and shopkeepers within the park's grounds.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Croatian Unemployment Rate Lowest Ever Since Official Records Kept

July the 13th, 2022 - The Croatian unemployment rate is at its lowest since the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ/CES) has been keeping official records. This might sound incredible, but this is a typical trend in the late spring and early summer months owing to seasonal employment for the tourism sector, as well as the ongoing demographic crisis.

The number of working age people leaving the country is continuing to increase, and the number of retirees or those who no longer need to work living in Croatia is on the up. Demography continues to dog the country's labour force, as do very seasonal trends in the Croatian unemployment rate.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the sixth month of this year was marked the lowest number of registered unemployed persons on the Croatian labour market since the Croatian Employment Service has been keeping official track of this data. The month of June's statistics show that 105,798 unemployed people were registered in that month alone, which is 20.4 thousand less than at the end of the same month last year.

June 2022 was the fifth month in a row in which the Croatian unemployment rate continued to fall on a monthly basis - compared to May, there were 4,040 or 3.7 percent fewer of them registered at the aforementioned institute. Currently, 107,444 unemployed persosn are registered at the institute, 1,646 more than there were back at the end of June. There are currently 17,619 job vacancies published by the CES.

During that month, 12,461 people were newly registered in the unemployment register, which is an increase of 1.3 percent compared to June last year. At the same time, 76.3 percent of newly registered persons or 9,506 persons came to the institute directly from their previous employment.

16,501 people left the unemployment register in June, which is 31.5 percent less than in June last year. Of these, 12,720 persons were employed, namely 11,720 persons (92.1 percent) on the basis of employment and 1,000 persons (7.9 percent) on the basis of other business activities.

For more on the Croatian unemployment rate, working in Croatia and seasonal trends, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Good News as Croatian Labour Market Revival Stronger Than Ever

April the 5th, 2022 - The Croatian labour market revival is currently stronger than ever, with the search for staff across many sectors, but of course with the tourism industry dominating above all, never having been higher.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the first quarter of 2022, more than 24,000 job advertisements were published on the MojPosao/MyJob portal, which represents a growth of as much as 33 percent when compared to the first quarter of last year and growth of 32 percent when compared to the first quarter of pandemic-dominated 2020. Compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to the demand for labour recorded back then, this year, 11 percent more ads looking for employees were published.

Therefore, the MojPosao portal can safely conclude that the Croatian labour market has well and truly recovered from the consequences of the crisis caused by the emergence of the novel coronavirus which resulted in a global pandemic and that the demand for workers across the Republic of Croatia has never been higher.

In human resources and tourism, more workers are needed

Compared to last year, the highest growth in labour demand was recorded in the following sectors: Human resources, where as many as 137 percent more job advertisements were published than in the same period last year, then in Tourism and hospitality (+ 135 percent) and Warehousing and logistics (+ 112 percent).

Last year, a partial lockdown owing to the pandemic lasted until about March and companies hiring seasonal workers were very late in finding and hiring workers for the summer tourist season.

Compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, this year, Croatia recorded the highest growth in the categories: Human resources (+ 63 percent), Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (+ 55 percent), Warehousing and logistics (+ 53 percent) and Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology (+ 53 percent).

Waiters are still the most sought after workers in Croatia, and in second place come merchants, followed by chefs, warehouse workers, drivers and developers. According to the OVI index from March 2022, the demand for labour is 33 percent higher than it was back during March 2021 and 65 and 27 percent higher than in March 2020 and even March 2019.

The most sought-after occupations in March this year were salesmen, chefs, waiters, warehous workers and drivers. 44 percent of job ads offered a permanent contract, while 43 percent of those ads offered a fixed-term contract. About 1.8 percent of job advertisements mentioned the possibility of working from home, while 3.2 percent of advertisements were aimed at retirees.

For more on the Croatian labour market and working in Croatia, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Economic Analyst Andrej Grubisic Discusses Croatian Public Sector

January the 16th, 2022 - Economic analyst Andrej Grubisic has spoken among a series of others to state his feelings about the recently released official Croatian 2021 Census data, noting an uncomfortable truth about just how many people are employed in the country's public sector.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, economic analyst Andrej Grubisic was a recent guest of N1 on which he commented on the repercussions of a smaller number of residents of the country on the sustainability of the pension system. He says fewer people in the country means that they will see the greatest repercussions of pressure on the pension system from a long-term perspective.

"In my opinion, these are the biggest challenges. We undertook an analysis that showed that about 100 and something thousand people experienced a negative natural increase. What the data shows is that for one million and 240 thousand pension beneficiaries, when you have 2.5 million able-bodied residents, we have about 50 percent of pension beneficiaries for every single able-bodied resident,'' explained Andrej Grubisic.

The pension system, he says, is sustainable, but it will not be able to produce higher pensions in real terms. "The question is what reasonable adjustments would be made, given the facts we're dealing with. A solution is likely to be sought by force in a few things. One is the opening of the borders, I think that Croatia will have to liberalise the import of labour,'' said Amdrej Grubisic.

He also spoke about what he considers to be one of the sources of that desired labour.

"I think that one of the sources that is not often talked about in public space is that there are a significant number of quite frankly redundant people working in the public sector. In the Croatian public sector, in the broadest sense of the word, with four hundred thousand people who are tied to the central budget, local budgets and public companies... If you start from the fact that 10 percent of that workforce is redundant, that’s equal to 40,000 people.

That's an extremely significant pool of people. If they ended up in the labour market, some of them would be forced to take up jobs in the private sector. We have relatively young retirees, who are retired but are still very much able to work. The work of pensioners needs to be liberalised. All barriers need to be broken down in order for people to work if they want to. There can be no progress if there aren't enough of us, with a special emphasis on job productivity,'' Andrej Grubisic concluded.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Potential Croatian Workers ARE Available, But Not for Minimum Wage...

December the 7th, 2021 - We often hear all about how employers just can't get the staff and need to instead go into battle with MUP's pen pushers in order to hire third country nationals from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, but is that really the case? Not always. There are plenty of would-be Croatian workers, but they aren't about to jump for joy working for minimum wage with no days off.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the search for Croatian workers in tourism for the next summer season has never started earlier than now - all tourist companies typically use the low season for active searches not only for seasonal workers but also for a permanent workforce that can expect better conditions than in they had over the last two years.

Hotels offer slightly higher salaries, and are looking for seasons which span a more generous period of 4 to 7 months, which suggests that they are counting on a decent tourist season in summer 2022.

However, their task is not easy, with the continuation of the trend of migration of Croatian workers to the west, the pool of workers from Serbia and Macedonia has been significantly reduced, whose work in Germany and Austria has also been much more simplified since this year.

At the same time, this year the trend of emigration of German and Austrian workers to Switzerland, where higher salaries are offered, has intensified. This is just a part of the insight into the lively labour market revealed by Natasa Kacar, the director of the employment agency Gate2Solutions and the Job in Tourism portal, one of the leading platforms that connects supply and demand for workers here in Croatia and across Europe.

"At this time of year, we mostly dealt with the winter season at ski resorts, and this is a really unusually active autumn for Croatian employers. It is completely different than last year, when it was not known when and how the season would start, and the search for Croatian workers started practically with the very arrival of the season, and as such, there was chaos.

We're now noticing a lot more optimism from employers for next year, but also fears that they will be left without Croatian workers again. At the same time, there are more Croatian workers out there willing to do a goo job than it seems, but they can no longer allow themselves to be exploited and that is the basic thing that employers must keep in mind,'' points out Kacar.

"Posao u turizmu/Jobs in tourism" has been uniting a dozen local and foreign employment agencies as a specialised portal and mediation agency for six years now, and in addition to Croatia they are present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria through their agents and branches. They're also active in Germany, Malta, Ukraine, India and even in Dubai.

The founder of the portal is Tin Tomljanovic, an award-winning Croatian bartender. The combined base and channels through which they communicate the needs of workers ensure that they quickly find workers for their partners. They also offer the possibility of importing workers from other EU member states and from third countries, from Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, but also Ukraine, the Philippines and Thailand.

They mediate not only in the employment of seasonal workers, but also in permanent employment for an indefinite period. Natasa Kacar also claims that they are contacted by Croatian emigrants who would like return home, but having experienced life (and salaries) abroad, they have their own conditions.

“Those who emigrated to work in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, cruise workers... they all clear employment conditions there, from wages higher than there, to accommodation and food, and they of course got used to one or two days off per week. With the exception of mostly large serious companies, in Croatia there is generally no guarantee of a salary, which is usually the minimum wage, and the rest is paid in hand. There are often no days off, especially during the height of the summer season, and work is done without a break for 12-14 hours when there are many people around. In Switzerland, work is carried out for 9 hours with a break of 50 minutes, which must be used because otherwise employers risk fines, if they work in hotels, then they're free for two days a week every week.

Croatian workers now know exactly where and what they're going for. When I tell my employer that I don't have a worker who will work without a break and a day off, restaurant owners can say that the nature of the job is such that it is done without a break. Maybe it can be like that for the owners, bur the workers no longer agree to that, especially the younger ones, and employers have to be ready for that,'' says Kacar.

Besides, salaries outside of Croatia's borders are typically much more attractive. A recently announced tender published on the portal is one which is looking for chefs, bartenders and waiters for the winter season over in Switzerland, for seasonal jobs with the possibility of permanent employment. Salaries range from 3,900 to 4,400 euros gross (minus 13-20 percent to the net amount), accommodation and meals are provided at an additional cost, as employers co-finance the rental of all apartments.

In Austria, a head waiter typically receives about 1,900 euros net, in Croatia they work just as hard only to take home somewhere between 7,000 and 9,000 kuna, while maids work a maximum of 8 hours a day in the sweltering Croatian summer heat with just one day off.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 25 October 2021

128,000 Workers Aged Under 35 Have Left Croatian Labour Market in Last 13 Years (Večernji List)

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - Some 128,000 workers aged under 35 have left the Croatian labour market in the past 13 years, so that now they account for only a third of the country's workforce, Večernji List newspaper wrote on Monday.

Under the new Labour Act, which is under preparation, workers will no longer be required to retire at 65 and will be allowed to continue working even after they meet the formal requirements for retirement, if they so wish and if there is work for them to do. Considering the present situation in the domestic labour market, many employers will turn to this age group for labour because the working age of employees has dramatically changed in the last decade and a half.

This summer the Croatian government boasted that Croatia had reached the second-highest employment rate in the last 30 years and surpassed pre-pandemic levels, which is true. However, the age structure of employees has substantially changed too, so that today only 481,000 employees are aged under 35, the newspaper said.

In 2008, the number of persons aged under 35 in the workforce was 609,000, which means that 128,000 people of the most productive working age have disappeared from the Croatian labour market in the past 13 years, which is equivalent to a city the size of Rijeka. These vacancies are increasingly being filled by older people, and considering the present trends, it can be expected that persons in their sixties and seventies will be in demand in the coming years.

The low birthrate and mass emigration are taking their toll and as a result Croatia now has 103,000 employees aged above 50 more than in 2008, namely 467,000. Over 100,000 of them will qualify for retirement in the next 10 years.  

Croatia has imported nearly 100,000 foreign workers this year to meet the labour demand and they are included in the official statistics. Their number could be even higher in the years ahead. The government has proposed in talks with the social partners that the statutory retirement age of 65 be removed, which would make it possible for people to work as long as their health and labour market conditions permit, Večernji List said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Croatian Staff.hr Worker Booking Platform Created by Footballers

September the 15th, 2021 - The new Croatian Staff.hr ''worker booking'' platform has been created by footballers, and it's the first such booking site to exist in Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, meet the brand new Croatian Staff.hr service for workers and employers launched at the beginning of the summer by a pair of amateur football players, economist Toni Adzic and psychologist Ivan Abramovic.

Their goal is to speed up and simplify the processes on the labour market as much as possible, and Adzic got the idea in London, where he lived before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

“It was there where I came across this system of ''booking'' workers through a platform on which labour is hired across various industries as needed, and it works very simply and quickly. As we also have a serious problem of finding labour in Croatia, and so far there's been no such service, we decided to develop our own platform. We started working at the time of the pandemic and it was challenging, but we managed to get the Croatian staff.hr platform up and running this June,'' Toni Adzic explained.

Although they are also registered as a platform for job advertisements, unlike other employment agencies and portals, a database of clients as well as workers who are interested in the job is created, and clients then go there to "hire" them. The system is similar to how delivery services work, except that it is not the products that are delivered but the workforce, and it primarily regards operatives.

"Everyone who wants to work applies to us, passes certain security checks with us, leaves their data on their previous experiences, and stays in our database of workers, then they go off to work wherever they want, depending on the needs of clients. We aren't their employers, they're a partner of the company and the workers can choose for themselves, and we take a certain fixed fee for advertising from the clients and that's how we earn. Everything is very transparent and pre-arranged, so that both employers and workers know what awaits them,'' said Adzic.

He pointed out that it is very important for them as intermediaries on the Croatian Staff.hr team that both clients and workers are satisfied, and that unpleasant experiences can occur on the labour market, so they have introduced a system of reviews, the evaluation of both workers and clients.

Since June, when the Croatian Staff.hr platform started, their base of workers has been constantly increasing. The interest is currently greatest among students, but there are other age groups in a variety of industries, from catering to events, promotion and sales. As the platform was launched only in June, this year there was no opportunity to significantly penetrate the labour market in terms of tourism, which is certainly expected in 2022.

There will certainly be work to be done, as the shortage of workers in tourism will be one of the sector’s biggest challenges for next season. This year, the sector has entered the season with at least 5,000 workers less than needed and ads for maids and waiters are still circulating today.

It is precisely the acceleration and simplification of the employment process not only of foreigners, but also of the domestic workforce that is what the Croatian Tourism Association is most loudly calling for. In addition, in their proposals for measures that will soon be sent to the Government for consideration, HUT is asking for tax relief for the employment of students, a large pool of potential workforce in the summer season, which is currently not well motivated due to tax levies.

That would be a small expense for the state compared to the income that can be generated if that group is motivated to work, they stated from HUT.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

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