Sunday, 5 December 2021

Croatian Staff Could Benefit Greatly From Valamar Austrian Hotel Purchase

December the 5th, 2021 - Valamar's purchase of an Austrian hotel could be fantastic not only for those who are investing in Croatian tourism but also for Croatian staff who want something much more permanent than seasonal work over summer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, a Valamar Austrian hotel, a new one that is, could finally iron out the issues faced by temporary employment and the extremely seasonal nature of the Croatian economy, making things far more stable for Croatian staff who crave a regular income without worries.

Such an exchange, however, can hardly be expected at an institutional, interstate level, either because of legal barriers or the fear of hoteliers that they will lose workers who will simply drop everything without a second thought for a better salary in a ski-oriented, higher paying country.

In such circumstances, it is difficult to expect employers to seek formal education when hiring, which is advocated by professors from the Croatian education system, especially because students are educated according to outdated and inappropriate curricula. That could change once the Regional Centres for Competences in Vocational Education come to life, and the first effects on the labour market should be seen in around 2028. All of this could be heard at a panel discussion held at Zagreb's Faculty of Economics on Thursday.

The discussion on the connection between education and the labour market with as many as 10 panelists was organised by Zabok High School and the Faculty of Economics within the ESF project Zabok Regional Centre.

As many as three large tourist companies operating here in Croatia have facilities in their portfolio at Austrian ski resorts, and they're all fresh acquisitions. The Falkensteiner Group opened the Hotel Kronplatz in South Tyrol last year, this September it was announced that the Arena Hospitality Group is buying the Franz Ferdinand Mountain Resort hotel in Nassfeld. Valamar Riviera is currently buying its second hotel in Obertauern, and the plan is to employ more than 130 Valamar employees from Croatia during the winter at the ski resort.

"At Valamar, the focus is on permanent employment, we also have over 1,000 permanent seasonal workers, and the strategy of the internationalisation of our business in winter destinations has fitted in perfectly with these efforts. This gives Croatian staff the opportunity to continue working in this market, which has higher salaries, after the summer season, as their income in hotels in Obertauern is in line with Austrian law. In addition to the financial opportunity, they get a chance to expand their knowledge and experience, as well as improve their knowledge of the German language, which is important.

At the same time, they're sure that they will be accompanied there by the heads of departments they already know from Croatia, and they're also sure that they will have a job on the Adriatic by the time spring rolls around. This is also our attempt to address the problem of the emigration of Croatian staff abroad in this way,'' said Ines Damjanic Sturman, the director of the Human Resources Department at Valamar.

Although this is being considered, the institution of exchanging employees between countries with higher needs in the summer or winter season will be difficult to implement, said Sonja Holocher-Ertl, the director of Advantage Austria, a branch of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce's foreign trade department. On the Advantage Austria website, about 40 travel companies are currently looking for workers from Croatia.

“Hotel owners in Austria have similar problems when it comes to finding workers as Croats do. The most basic occupations are in demand, waiters, chefs, receptionists, housekeepers, janitors... and most employers are small or medium-sized family businesses, owners of 4 or 5 star facilities. This winter season, a desirable criterion is that workers be fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. Exchanging workers is an attractive idea, but it can best be done if someone happens to be the owner of said facility, who then relocates his workers as he wishes.

Without that, the matter can easily become very complicated, either because of legal procedures or because of the fear of employers that workers will simply stay where the conditions are better, in Switzerland, for example, Croatian staff are paid significantly more than they'd ever be in Croatia,'' explained Holocher-Ertl.

When it comes to labor migration, Natasa Kacar, director of the employment agency Gate2Solutions, claims that there are a lot of Croatian citizens who do, despite all, want to return to Croatia eventually.

"A lot of workers who work abroad call us because they're looking for jobs in tourism back home in Croatia, but they want decent wages and off-season work as well, and they want to know what conditions their would-be employers offer, and it's very difficult for us to find employers who can offer them what they need,'' concluded Kacar.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

1.58 Million Officially Employed Croatian Residents at End of October 2021

November the 24th, 2021 - The end of October this year saw 1.58 million officially employed Croatian residents as the domestic economy continues to grow steadily as we emerge delicately from the global pandemic.

The rocky situation with the global economy has made sure that no country could easily escape the dire economic consequences that this truly unprecedented situation has caused, and countries like Croatia, which relies very heavily on tourism, took a very heavy blow indeed. It seems however, that things are on the up.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at the end of October this year, there were 1.58 million officially employed Croatian residents, which is 0.2 percent more than in September and two percent more than in October last year, while the registered unemployment rate in October stood at 7.2 percent, which is an increase by 0.2 percentage points on a monthly level, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

According to the CBS, there were 1,581,743 officially Croatian residents during the month of October, which is 3,599 or 0.2 percent more than at the end of September this year. At the annual level, the number of total employees in the country increased by two percent.

1,368,324 persons were employed within legal entities, which is 11,746 persons or 0.9 percent more than a month before. Compared to the same month last year, this growth was stronger and amounted to 1.8 percent.

According to the data that the CBS takes from the records of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, there were 194,810 employees in crafts and trades at the end of October, which is 8,165 or four percent less than in September 2021. At the annual level, the number of officially employed Croatian residents in crafts and trades was higher by four percent.

More detailed statistics on the number of employees in legal entities show an increase on a monthly basis in most activities, with the largest increase in the number of employees in the education sector, by 8.2 percent, to 121,331 persons.

For more on working in Croatia, and employment, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Croatian Computer Scientists in Short Supply, Students Being Hired

November the 3rd, 2021 - The old saying that you just can't get the staff couldn't ring more true than it does in Croatia. The country is lacking when it comes to employees across the majority of sectors, and Croatian computer scientists, despite the country's IT boom, are in such short supply that students are being given jobs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the situation with both the Croatian economy and the demographic picture isn't news to anyone who doesn't live under a rock, but this is especially evident when it comes to Croatian computer scientists. Companies can’t find enough of them and are simply offering employment positions to high school students to try to bridge the gap. They're promising them additional education and an opportunity for professional advancement.

If any part of the domestic economy has managed to resist the pandemic-induced pressures which began in 2020, then it's the blossoming Croatian information technology sector. Quite on the contrary to the vast majority of other sectors, they even managed to grow and hire new staff throughout the pandemic. Last year alone, Ericsson Nikola Tesla employed about 200 people, this year, as of September the 1st 347 professionals were hired. While that's excellent, the original plan was even more ambitious.

"We wanted 600 people, we didn't succeed, the plan is 500 new experts by the end of the year," said Gordana Kovacevic, president of Croatia's largest ICT company, Ericsson Nikola Tesla.

"It's an extremely slow process for us, so we're offering for students to come and join our teams, educate them further, and establish excellent relationships with the colleges, because the speed of change that is happening is incredible," stated Kovacevic.

The demand is also quite amazing. Tesla is currently looking for about 500 people a year, and the total potential of the Croatian market isn't quite up to par. Zeljko Krizmanic, the coordinator of Bird Incubator, also commented on the topic:

"Companies have been recruiting for some time now, and not only those people who are leaving college, but also those who are still in college, in their third or fourth year,'' he explained.

“It ' also very interesting for young people to try to start their own companies because there have been a lot of successful examples lately, such as Nanobit, Infinum, Rimac, companies that didn't even exist 12 years ago and are now valued at over a billion dollars, so the startup culture is growing a lot. I know of several startups in the Bird incubator looking for experts, and it's proving difficult to find them,'' added Krizmanic.

Kovacevic, on the other hand, says that the state should adapt school programmes to new technologies and the industries of the future, otherwise the most capable will be the constant target of foreign bounty hunters.

"In fact, the whole of Europe has a shortage of experts with ICT skills, unless something completely different happens, in terms of training, creating new knowledge and retraining, they will forcibly take experts from each other,'' he warned. It is imperative to promote STEM since primary schools and to provide scholarships to local talent as of high school age, believes Kovacevic.

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

Friday, 29 October 2021

McKinsey: 140,000 Croatian Workers Will Need to Change Occupations

October the 29th, 2021 - A huge amount of Croatian workers will need to consider changing their occupations as digitalisation and automation continues to leave the need for the human touch in the past, according to a recent analysis.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, approximately 340,000 jobs will disappear due to automation and trends fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, but rest assured, these will be replaced by almost the same number of new jobs in new occupations and growing industries and due to a general increase in productivity. While net labour demand will remain virtually unchanged, there will be significant changes in the structure of occupations on offer. Therefore, by the end of the decade, almost 140,000 Croatian workers will need to change their occupations in order to remain employed.

This is one of the conclusions of the analysis published by McKinsey & Company Adriatic in cooperation with McKinsey Global Institute entitled The Future of Work in Croatia - Transformation of the Croatian Workforce in the Age of Automation and Digitalisation, which examines the impact of automation, artificial intelligence and digital technologies on various sectors, occupations and jobs, and the combined impact of all this on the combination of skills that the Croatian workforce will need to have by 2030.

Realising the full economic potential of automation and digitalisation, but also maintaining the existing level of employment will require the cooperation of all stakeholders to find ways to enable Croatian workers to transform and acquire the skills that will be required in the future.

"This isn't just going to happen by itself - all private organisations, public institutions and educational institutions will have to work together during the transition period to realise this potential," said Tomislav Brezinscak, CEO of McKinsey & Company Adriatic.

By 2030, six percent of the total number of working hours in Croatia will move from jobs that require physical skills to solve work tasks to jobs that require cognitive, social, emotional and technological skills. Specific skills, such as those needed to manage devices and equipment and to easily enter and process data, are likely to experience the largest drop in demand in the share of employees by 2030. This is to be expected, as activities that require physical strength and skill as well as data collection and processing skills are something that can be very easily automated now.

The analyses described in this report take into account the composition of the workforce throughout the country, combined with the expected rate of the adoption of automation, based on available technologies and the economic feasibility of their implementation. When looking at the potential speed of automation from the perspective of trends fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, Croatia will achieve an automation adoption rate of around 22 percent by 2030.

In other words, the activities that currently account for about 22 percent of the total number of working hours of employees in Croatia will be automated by the end of the decade. The adoption of automation will vary from sector to sector - manufacturing, wholesale, business functions that serve to support the administration, and public administration - will be the areas with the highest rate of automation adoption.

Croatia needs to improve its productivity in order to achieve sustainable economic growth and income growth in all segments of the population. This is especially important because the population of Croatia is only getting older. Automation is also an opportunity to realise Croatian national interests. Companies, if supported by the appropriate policies and investment in skills development, can develop new services and products, increase their productivity and create new and better paid jobs. By embracing the changes that will take place in the world of work over the current decade, Croatia can avoid structural unemployment and create new national wealth in a way that promotes social inclusion.

Accelerated digitisation may be the most important new driver of growth, and Croatia's digital economy, which encompasses all digital activities in all economic sectors, now accounts for approximately five percent of GDP, equivalent to 2.4 billion euros. By 2025, the digital economy in Croatia can reach 11 percent of GDP, which means that it will contribute to the value of the overall economy with 8.3 billion euros.

Although automation and digitalisation provide an opportunity to create a more productive and competitive Croatian workforce, they also bring several challenges - especially in terms of losing existing jobs and developing future skills. Like stakeholders in other EU countries, all stakeholders in Croatia must balance the pace of automation and the acquisition of new skills if they want the country to benefit from automation and the introduction of new technologies.

If automation and digitisation happen too quickly, it may happen that the new jobs that will be created will remain unfilled by Croatian workers, and that, potentially, could lead to worsening income inequality. On the other hand, if automation and digitalisation happen too slowly, it could harm Croatia's competitiveness and prevent economic growth.

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Croatian Unemployment Rate Falls, Fixed-Term Contracts Dominate

October the 27th, 2021 - The Croatian unemployment rate is continuing to fall, particularly and apparently encouragingly among the youth. Fixed-term contracts currently dominate.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, as of yesterday, there were 123,000 unemployed people regisered at the Croatian Employment Service (CES). When compared to the end of last month, this represents an increase of 3910 people, but on an annual basis, this number still indicates a decrease in the number of unemployed people in the country - compared to the end of last October, there are 21,000 fewer of them.

According to the latest monthly report, for September, the annual Croatian unemployment rate was almost a fifth (19 percent) or 28,340 lower. In year-on-year comparisons, the number of unemployed people in the age group of 20 to 24 decreased the most, by almost 30 percent, which brought its share in the total number of unemployed people in the country below ten percent.

There are more and more job ads...

The overall better picture of the domestic labour market compared to last year is evidenced, among other things, by the fact that as many as 44 percent more vacancies were registered in September this year (23.5 compared to 16.3 thousand).

Relatively speaking, the largest increase was recorded in Istria County, where the number of workers needed was twice as high as it was last September, in Split-Dalmatia County, 80 percent more employees were sought, Zagreb also recorded 73 percent more September searches for workers. More than 700 workers were sought for work abroad, which is 37 percent more than in the same month last year.

At the same time, slightly more than 21,400 people de-registered as unemployed last month (12 percent less than last September).

In 16,800 of them, the reason was the fact that they had found work, but more than 900 people ceased to have this status due to other forms of business activities, such as people who had started their own business (by registering a trade or company).

Of those who found employment, almost nine out of ten cases were fixed-term contracts, and almost half of new employees found work in education. Of the total number of those who found a job last month, 6,300 of them are from the group of people who have a higher education.

At the same time, more than 4,600 people were deleted from the unemployment register for other reasons, and in addition to leaving the world of work due to retirement or inclusion in regular schooling, about 1,500 people were ''deleted'' from the list due to non-compliance with legal provisions.

In more than half of the people in this group, the reason is that they aren't actively looking for a job. For 75 of them, the reason is refusing to look for or accept a job, and a further ten have refused to enroll in some form of education. Of the total number of unemployed people, the share of those who receive CES cash benefits has actually been declining for years. Currently, the benefit is received by a little more than 25 thousand people, or just a little more than every fifth unemployed person.

In the structure of those who are unemployed according to the level of education, it is noticeable that the share of highly educated people has been slightly growing this year as well, although at the end of September this year there were nominally 24,000 or almost 500 less such people in this situation than there were last year.

For more on the Croatian unemployment rate, the economy and working in Croatia, make sure to check out our business section.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Close to 30% of Businesses Have No Employees

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - Close to 30% of companies in Croatia did not have any employees in 2020 when of 139,009 businesses, 41,595  (29.9%) did not have workers, the Financial Agency (FINA) has said in a report which is based on processed annual financial statements.

A total of 37,865 of the 41,595 businesses without employees operated normally, 1,273 were undergoing liquidation, and 2,457 were undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.

A total of 17,438 businesses operated at a profit while 24,157 reported losses.

The share of businesses without employees in the total number of businesses was high, 29.9%, but it was small in relation to other positive indicators, with the share of businesses without employees in total revenue being 2.7%, in expenses 3.1%, pre-tax profit 7%, profit for the period 7.4%, exports 2% and investments 2.7%, FINA said.

Most of the businesses without employees operated in trade (8,280), followed by professional, scientific and technical activities (6,023) and construction (4,644).

Businesses without employees in trade had the highest total revenue (HRK 4.3 billion), followed by businesses in real estate activities (HRK 3.5 bn), and businesses in construction (HRK 3.3 bn).

Businesses without employees in 2020 incurred a net loss in 13 activities and operated in the black in eight activities.

The total financial result of all businesses without employees was negative, a net loss of HRK 2.1 billion.

The highest net loss was reported by businesses in real estate activities (HRK 755.7 million), construction (HRK 690.7 million), and manufacturing (HRK 403.2 million).

The lowest loss was reported by businesses in Other service activities (HRK 3.4 million).

Businesses without employees reported a net profit in only two counties - Međimurje County (HRK 16.8 million) and Virovitica-Podravina County (HRK 8.6 million) - while those in other counties reported losses, the highest having been reported in Istria County (HRK 436.1 million), followed by Split-Dalmatia County (HRK 433.1 million), and Zadar County (HRK 304.5 million).

The net loss of businesses without employees in the City of Zagreb, which had the largest number of such businesses (14,500 or 35% of the total number), was HRK 54 million.

Broken down by type of ownership, most businesses without employees were privately owned (41,165 or 99%) and they also reported the highest loss, of HRK 1.8 billion.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Friday, 15 October 2021

Croatia's Survey Unemployment Rate at 8%

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - In the second quarter of this year, 1.69 million people in Croatia were gainfully employed, while 146,000 were unemployed, and the survey unemployment rate was 8%, according to a labor force survey carried out by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS).

The survey found that of the 146,000 unemployed people, 89,000 or 61.3% were registered with the employment bureau and the remaining 38,7% were not.

At the same time, of 138,000 job seekers registered with the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ), 48,000, or 35.1% did not meet the international employment criteria.

The survey showed that in the second quarter of this year 3.5 million Croatians were of working age (aged 15 and over), of whom 1.69 million were in work, 146,000 were out of work and 1.7 million were inactive.

Among the inactive population, 66,000 said they wanted to work but were not looking for a job, while 1.2 million did not want to work because of old age, poor health, education, and so on. There were an estimated 8,000 people who were looking for a job but could not accept it in the next two weeks, and about 28,000 who were not looking for work and could not accept it in the next two weeks. The "Others" category included 399,000 inactive persons aged 75 and over who, under the methodology, are not asked about details of their inactivity.

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Monday, 23 August 2021

Biggest Cities Not Among Top 10 Cities in Terms of Employees Per 1,000 Inhabitants

ZAGREB, 23 Aug 2021 - In Croatia, the list of top ten cities in terms of the number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants include Varaždin, Čakovec, Zabok, Prelog, Sveta Nedelja, Koprivnica, Krk, Poreč, Dubrovnik, and Vinkovci, according to the data released by the national statistical office (DZS) on Monday.

The information about this ranking of the top 10 cities was released by the local authorities in Vinkovci that boasted that this eastern Croatian city made the top ten in terms of the number of workers per 1,000 inhabitants.

The list is topped by the northern city of Varaždin (630 employees per 1,000) and is followed by another two northern cities, Čakovec  (571) and Zabok (525).

Vinkovci has 401 employees per 1,000 residents, which ranks it in 10th place.

The ranking does not include the capital city of Zagreb or any of the other three biggest cities: Split, Osijek, and Rijeka.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 20 August 2021

DZS: Average Take-Home Pay in Croatia Mildly Rises to HRK 7,175 in June

ZAGREB, 20 Aug, 2021 - For this June, the average monthly net earnings per person in paid employment in legal entities in Croatia amounted to HRK 7,175, nominally higher by 5.9% and really by 3.8% as compared to the same month last year, according to the latest data provided by the national statistical office (DZS).

As compared to May 2021, both the nominal and the increase was one percent.

The highest average monthly net pay per person in paid employment in legal entities for June 2021 were earned in Manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products (HRK 15,823), while the lowest were earned in Manufacture of wearing apparel (HRK 4,409).

Median net take-home pay for June 2021 amounted to HRK 6,023, and the median gross salary was HRK 7,813.

(€ 1 = HRK 7.482172)

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Zagreb County Employment Rate Rises by 3.3 Percent

August the 4th, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has threatened jobs like never before, with countries which rely very heavily on tourism suffering unimaginable uncertainty. Croatia is one of them. Things are slowly recovering however, and the Zagreb County employment rate has risen.

Economic issues in Croatia weren't ''born'' when the pandemic struck the globe, but they were certainly made exponentially worse with intermittent lockdowns and issues with transport, travel and tourism. While the Zagreb County employment rate perhaps isn't the one you'd expect to see much growth in comparison to the coast, things are looking up.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, with the highest total revenue of 6.1 billion kuna in 2020 and the largest number of employees - 2,377, Lidl Hrvatska (Croatia) from Velika Gorica neat the City of Zagreb maintained its dominant role among leading companies based in Zagreb County.

The largest exporter was the company Hospira Zagreb from Prigorje Brdovecki (809.5 million kuna), according to Fina, which, for the pandemic-dominated year of 2020, shows a good picture of Zagreb County's economy in which 9258 enterprises had their headquarters last year. With its 63,044 employees, there is a 3.3 percent increase in Zagreb County employment levels.

The average monthly net salary for Zagreb County employees amounted to 6,144 kuna, which is 2.7 percent higher than it was back in 2019 and 2.9 percent higher than the average for that category at the Croatian level.

According to the processed AFS for 2020, companies operating in this continental Croatian county achieved 56.9 billion kuna of total revenues (0.1 percent more than back in 2019).

Compared to other counties, Zagreb County is highly ranked according to a number of indicators: it is in fifth place according to the number of companies headquartered there, third according to the number of employees, second according to total revenues and realised net profit, and number one according to the indicator of labour productivity measured by net profit and the number of employees, making it the country's best in that regard at the moment.

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