Monday, 16 May 2022

Croatian Labour Force 15,000 Employees Short for 2022 Season

May the 16th, 2022 - The height of 2022's summer tourist season is rapidly approaching, and the Croatian labour force is still missing around 15,000 employees. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the director of the Directorate for Development, Investments and Competitiveness of the Tourism Economy at the Ministry of Tourism, Robert Pende, said recently on the radio that the Croatian labour force, when it comes to the all important tourism sector, currently lacks as many as 15,000 workers, although he expects the deficit to decrease as time goes on.

"Currently, according to the information we've received from the sector itself, there are about 10,000 people who should come or be employed for this tourist year," said Pende, referring to the lack of workers in the tourism sector, which is ironically Croatia's most important economic branch.

However, he pointed out that many permits for foreign workers (meaning those from non EU-EEA countries such as neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, who require special permission in order to work here) are still in the process of being requested, so he expects those numbers to be somewhat lower eventually.

MUP is notoriously slow in processing employer requests for work permits for third country nationals such as the citizens of the aforementioned non EU countries, with cases of those would-be employees throwing in the towel and going elsewhere or only being approved for their work permit when the tourist season is already well and truly underway.

"In any case, we will have a deficit, I would say, throughout the main tourist season," Pende told HRT.

The president of the Dubrovnik County Chamber, Nikolina Trojic, said that the need at the Croatian national level is certainly between 15 and 20 thousand workers that must be introduced from somewhere.

"At the level of Dubrovnik-Neretva County alone, there are certainly at least two or three thousand people who are needed to come and work this season, so it's that many would-be employees who are missing. It's very difficult to fill that number from the Croatian labour force, and we will undoubtedly have to continue to import labour from abroad,'' added Trojic.

Dubrovnik already has a significant number of employees each summer season from nearby Trebinje, which is just over the border in the Republika Srpska governed part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that alone often causes rifts among locals who remember people from Trebinje attacking Dubrovnik thirty years ago. The issue with filling the Croatian labour force isn't only an issue economically, but on a much more personal level, with many feeling that the Dalmatian coast's many restaurants should be filled with Croatian, preferably local staff, and not those from Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

20% Less People Registered with Croatian Employment Service in April

May the 13th, 2022 - The number of individuals registered as unemployed at the Croatian Employment Service dropped by an encouraging 20 percent back in April, which, while hope giving, occurs annually due to Croatia's seasonality when it comes to labour.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, back the end of April this year, 118,922 unemployed persons were registered officially in the records of the Croatian Employment Service (CES), which is a decrease of 5.3 percent on a monthly basis and 20 percent on an annual basis, according to the Croatian Emplotment Service's data.

April is the third month in a row in which the number of unemployed people across the Republic of Croatia continued to fall on a monthly basis, and when compared to March, there are 6,682 fewer of them registered with the aforementioned institution.

The Croatian Employment Service's data shows that, under the influence of the typical seasonal trends which take place annually on the Croatian labour market with regard to the needs of the tourism sector and preparations for the height of the summer tourist season, this marked decline in the number of unemployed people will more than likely continue throughout the month of May.

Namely, 114,163 unemployed persons are currently registered at the Croatian Employment Service, which is 4,759 people less than were registered there back at the end of April. Currently, 23,024 vacancies have been announced at the Croatian Employment Service, and their statistics show that the number of registered unemployed people decreased by 29,822 per year.

During April this year, a total of 11,421 people were newly registered in the unemployment register, which represents 3.1 percent more than were registered back in April last year.

At the same time, 69.7 percent of newly registered individuals (equal to 7,960 people) came to the Institute directly from their previous employment. In April, most people came directly from the manufacturing industry - 1,205 people (15.1 percent).

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

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Could Revising Student Earnings Limit Solve Croatian Labour Issue?

May the 7th, 2022 - The continuing issues faced by the Croatian labour force (or lack of it, to be more precise) could be solved by altering a current law and increasing the limit on how much students are allowed to earn without them, or usually their parents, facing tax issues.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, irritated employers have rightly pointed out that the income threshold after which the right to tax relief is lost for students is much too low, and that raising it would encourage students to not only seek out employment, but to be willing to work more. Therefore, they've suggested that the threshold be raised to 30,000 kuna, with different treatment if the taxpayer (their parent) has more children. This could solve the problems faced by the Croatian labour market, particularly when it comes to seasonal and tourism employment.

According to tportal, this initiative from the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) is also being strongly supported by the president of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojic, who very formly believes that the greater engagement of students in seasonal jobs in the tourism sector would reduce the need for the import of foreign labour, and the administrative issues and ridiculous waiting times for work permits that come with that.

''We've proposed to the Government that the non-taxable income limit for dependent members be raised to 30,000 kuna. We believe that in this way, a significant number of people would be activated on the Croatian labour market,'' Ostojic said.

Student work is otherwise regulated by the Student Affairs Act, and the current law on that has been in force since November 2018.

Students are employed through authorised intermediaries, which can be student centres or higher education institutions that have a centre for student standards, provided that they have received approval from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education to conduct mediation activities. The law also regulates the minimum hourly wage, which is calculated by dividing the amount of the minimum gross salary by 160. The hourly wage is adjusted once a year, and for 2022 it amounts to 29.30 kuna.

Altering this and increasing the amount students are free to earn without facing issues from the tax man would not only put a gradual stop to importing non-resident staff, but put the Croatian labour market in a far better position when it comes to the height of the summer season, when good staff are increasingly difficult to come by for would-be employers.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Croatian Company Microblink to Hire 450 More Employees in 2022

April the 30th, 2022 - The highly successful and by now very well known Croatian company Microblink is set to hire even more people throughout this year, it is also planning further expansion.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, one of the leading domestic high-tech companies, the Croatian company Microblink, which operates globally developing solutions on artificial intelligence (AI), is accelerating its business momentum this year and expects revenue growth of 50 percent and the hiring of more than 450 employees, the company said in a recent statement.

"Over the past year, we've transformed the company into a global technology enterprise with a New York office and clients around the world. We also undertook rebranding and developed a lot of tools to help identify the needs of our users,'' said the global vice president of Microblink for operations and director for Croatia Igor Strejcek.

He stressed that the Croatian company Microblink's overall vision is to enable the wide global use of AI, with the further development of their AI platform for which they want to be the ‘AI Power House’ and perhaps one day see it become a separate part of the company itself.

''It's quite difficult to say whether this will all pan out by the end of this year or next year, but we're on the right track and we're heading in that direction,'' added the global vice president for engineering of AI, Matija Ilijas.

Microblink's AI platform, he added, significantly speeds up and automates the process of developing and delivering AI solutions, with a strong focus placed on data security and protection, and it has so far developed more than 50 advanced AI models running on more than 100 million devices and on average 40 percent more quickly than on competing Google or Apple solutions.

For more information on Croatian companies, entrepreneurs and innovation, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Fewer and Fewer Croatian Graduates Find Work in Their Field, Survey Shows

ZAGREB, 10 April 2022 - Fewer and fewer university graduates in Croatia find their first job in their field, while the number of graduated students who found work in the public sector has increased, a survey has shown.

The survey of employability of students who graduated in the academic year 2018/2019 was carried out by the Agency for Science and Higher Education, covering 16% of students who completed their studies in Croatia in 2019.

Presenting the findings earlier this week, Matko Glunčić said that 94% of the respondents remained in Croatia, while the rest had moved abroad.

The largest number of respondents, about 45%, said they believed the cause of their current unemployment was the insufficient supply of jobs in their field.

After graduation, about 42% found work in the public sector, an increase of more than 4% compared with the 2017 survey. Nearly 64% found a job in their field, compared with 78% in 2017.

The largest number of those surveyed (32%) got a job after contacting the employer, over 18% found work through the national employment bureau (HZZ), and nearly as many found a job through their family connections, friends or acquaintances. By comparison, in 2017 most respondents had found their first job with the help of the HZZ.

Slightly fewer than 40% of respondents earned between HRK 5,000 and 7,000 a month, 25% made between HRK 3,500 and 5,000, 11% earned below HRK 3,500 and slightly fewer than 6% made over HRK 10,000 a month.

The largest number of respondents graduated with an average grade of A.

Over 33% of respondents graduated in social sciences, 22% in biomedicine, 22% in health care and nearly 22% in engineering.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our lifestyle section

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Government Imposes Employment Ban for Public, State Services

ZAGREB, 17 March 2022 - In order to ensure the continuity of control of employment in the public and state sectors, the Croatian government on Thursday imposed a ban on fixed-term and permanent employment in state and public services, providing for certain exceptions and defining terms for lifting the ban.

The ban on employment in state and public services was envisaged by laws on the execution of the 2020 and 2021 state budgets, but not by the law on the execution of the 2022 state budget. This is the reason why the government today adopted two new decisions to impose a ban on employment in public, as well as state administration services.

Reduction of parafiscal levies

The government also sent the parliament amendments to the State Survey and Real Property Cadastre Act for discussion under fast-track procedure, as part of measures from the Action Plan for the reduction of non-tax and parafiscal levies.

The amendments are aimed at abolishing the collection of most charges related to the use of data required to issue extracts, copies and certificates of data from the state survey, real property cadastre and infrastructure documentation, and the register of buildings, spatial units and geographic names, as well as related to access to information and certain actions requested by clients, and at abolishing the collection of administrative fees.

The amendments are part of the measures Croatia has undertaken to implement in order to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) and the banking union, and the deadline for their implementation is the end of March. 

For more, check out our dedicated politics and lifestyle sections.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

MojPosao Portal: More Workers Were Wanted in 2021 than Before the Pandemic

January 4, 2022 - According to an analysis by the MojPosao portal, in 2021 more jobs were sought than before the pandemic and the most sought-after occupations were waiter, salesman, driver, storekeeper, cook, programmer, and production worker.

Last year, more than 74,000 job advertisements were published on the MojPosao portal, which is 42 percent more than in 2020 and eight percent more than in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, while more than 1.5 million work applications were received, the MojPosao portal announced today.

"The analysis of the entire labor market, taking into account the total number of published job advertisements, shows a growing trend of labor demand and recovery of the labor market from the effects of the coronavirus crisis," said the portal MojPosao. According to the data they present, the most sought-after occupations in 2021 were: waiter (bartender), salesman (trader), driver, storekeeper, cook, programmer, and production worker.

Compared to the previous year, the highest growth in the number of advertisements was recorded in the categories of human resources (growth of 130 percent) and architecture (growth of 127 percent), while compared to 2019, the highest growth was recorded in the categories of construction, geodesy, geology 51 percent) and health, social work (growth of 46 percent).

The MojPosao portal also pointed out that last year more than 1.5 million employee applications were received, which is 6 percent more than in 2020 and 21 percent more than in 2019.

"Despite the fact that the beginning of the year did not look promising due to the rigorous epidemiological measures in force in January and February, which limited economic developments, the mitigation of measures in March led to a recovery in the labor market and significant growth in vacancies jobs which continued until the end of the year. Moreover, thanks to the high demand for labor in the second half of the year, the total number of published job advertisements exceeded the figures from the record, pre-pandemic 2019'', the portal states.

The director of the MojPosao portal, Igor Žonja, pointed out that the favorable trends are a reflection of a fairly successful tourist season and somewhat later seasonal employment than is usually the case, and "for some time now Croatia has been looking for more workers".

Last year, more than half of the ads (52 percent) referred to Zagreb and Zagreb County, followed by coastal counties - Primorje-Gorski Kotar (12 percent), Sibenik-Knin (also 12 percent), and Istria County (10 percent).

Considering the type of employment, in 2021, vacancies accounted for 73 percent of the total number of vacancies, which is almost the same as the year before, according to the MojPosao portal, noting that the ads provide for the possibility of marking more types of employment for the same job. Thus, there was 53 percent of job advertisements, also the same as in 2020. Seasonal workers were sought in six percent of the ads, while three percent of the ads were related to student jobs.

According to the MojPosao portal, 49 percent of employees were interested in a permanent job, while 24 percent were interested in part-time work. Also, seven percent of job seekers were interested in part-time work, and almost the same number of employees expressed interest in seasonal employment.

In 2021, employers were most often looking for candidates with a high school diploma - in 51 percent of advertisements, a high school diploma was a condition for successfully applying to the competition.

In 31 percent of the ads, knowledge of English was required, and in eight percent, German, while other languages ​​were less represented. Work experience was required in less than half of the ads (42 percent), on average two years and four months, the same as the year before.

In 2021, employers published more than 3,000 job advertisements abroad, which is 58 percent more than in 2020 and as much as 73 percent more than in 2019. Most advertisements abroad were published for work in Germany, Austria, and Slovenia, according to a statement from the MojPosao portal.


For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 3 January 2022

Labor Demand in 2021 Up 5.5% Compared to 2019, According to OVI Index

ZAGREB, 3 Jan 2022 - The EIZ Online Vacancy Index (OVI) has shown that labor demand in 2021 was up 5.5% compared to the pre-pandemic year 2019 and the positive trend continued in December with labor demand up by 32% year on year, the Institute of Economics, Zagreb (EIZ) reported on Monday.

"Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the calendar year has ended with good news because the latest OVI index has shown a continuing positive image of the labor market," EIZ said on its website.

The OVI index for December 2021 shows that labor demand in 2021 was 75% higher than for data related to December 2020 and 32% higher compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019. This is the eighth month in a row in which labor demand has exceeded pre-pandemic months.

Labor demand in 2021 was 5.5% higher than it was in 2019 while the OVI index was 48% higher in 2021 compared to 2020.

EIZ reported that positive trends are also visible quarter on quarter with the OVI index for the fourth quarter of 2021 is as much as 60% higher than in Q4, 2020 and 20% higher compared with 2019 Q4.

The most sought-after workers were salespeople, cooks, waiters, warehouse workers, and drivers while 46 percent of advertisements were for fixed-term employment and 44 percent for permanent employment. In 2021, 1.6% of the jobs advertised offered the opportunity of working from home which is a significant increase compared to 2019. Prior to the pandemic, a mere 0.1% provided that option.

In addition, 2.6% of job advertisements in 2021 were for pensioners, up 1.2% from 2020 and 0.6% from 2019, EIZ analysts reported.

OVI is a monthly index of online job advertisements developed by EIZ in cooperation with the MojPosao job search website. The index aims to provide timely information on current labor demand.

For more, check out our politics section.

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.

Page 1 of 5