Wednesday, 21 September 2022

5000 New People Employed in Croatian Public Sector in Just Two Years

September the 21st, 2022 - The over-inflated Croatian public sector has become richer for a massive 5000 new employees in a relatively short period of just two years.

Many people refer to the public sector in this country as being bloated, with others considering that the vast majority of the jobs people are employed for within the sector no longer necessary. Hopes were high that the digital era that Croatia has been more or less forced into by the coronavirus pandemic would see enormous changes to this, but it doesn't seem as if things have gone quite as digital with less people involved as we initially hoped.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, from the pandemic-dominated year of 2020 which changed the way the world worked as we knew it to the end of June 2022, judging by the data provided to Lider by the Ministry of Justice, the number of employees in the Croatian public sector increased by five thousand new employees.

As such, on the last day of June 2022, 175,913 people were employed in the Croatian public sector, and on June the 30th, 2020, 170,915 people were employed by the same state body.

In their second mandate, HDZ Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic's government employed around 1,500 new people in state bodies alone, this includes the government, various different ministries, central state offices and the like.

At the beginning of the year 2020, 31,954 people worked there, and at the end of June of this year, 33,105 people were employed in those same state bodies.

However, it's worth noting that this number does not include employees of the Ministry of the Interior (MUP), given the fact that an enormous 25,431 people work within that system, and in the two pandemic-dominated years of 2020 and 2021, the number of employees there also grew - but only by six people, Lider writes.

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

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Osijek Software City - Best Place on the Planet for Family Life

August 24, 2022 - Nathan arrived in Osijek from Arizona via Colorado and Prague. Not only did he find a job there, but also what he calls the ideal place for family life. The Osijek Software City movement is slowly, but surely coming to life.

As RTL writes, Osijek is a city where IT companies produce good software. Where do you acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for that? Where are the educated and motivated workers employed in quality and promising companies? This is how the objectives of the Osijek Software City project were presented, were they achieved?

Ten years from the first vision of Osijek as a regional IT center, and seven years until the first company in the IT park. The story of Osijek Software City unfolded slowly.

“It went slowly and it was difficult, but now it's going faster and faster”, Denis, one of the initiators of this story, told RTL. Better cooperation with universities will create the necessary IT specialists and scholarship programs with the City and the County that will attract young people.

“For us, this current pool of young people is no longer enough to turn Osijek into a true center of the IT industry, and we will really need to attract and import a lot of foreign students”, says Denis Sušac, director of the IT company.

Nathan arrived in Osijek from Arizona via Colorado and Prague. Not only did he find a job there, but also what he calls the ideal place for family life.

“Osijek could be one of the best cities on the planet for family life”, said Nathan Chappell, a developer.

The family spirit is present in the workplace, and his family is also helping him learn the Croatian language.

Ivana, on the other hand, studied languages, but after finishing her studies, she felt that it was not her life's calling.

“And then, little by little, I started poking around in IT to see what was there and what I was really interested in and I came across this testing”, said Ivana Belak, software tester.

She didn't want to leave Croatia and rather wanted to find the job she desired here, and that, she says, came true.

“We think that today young people can live very well working in Osijek, without leaving, and this trend of going to Ireland, Sweden, Germany is slowly coming to a halt”, claims Sušac.

The number of IT people in Osijek is growing. The goal of recognising Osijek as a city where IT experts live and work is becoming closer, and without their skills life is almost unimaginable today.

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

Friday, 5 August 2022

Record Low Unemployment Rate in Osijek-Baranja County

August 5, 2022 - Croatia has for a long time had a dynamic relationship with employment, even more so the east of the country. Encouraging news of record low unemployment came in from Osijek.

As SiB writes, according to the latest data from the Osijek Regional Office of the Croatian Employment Service, at the end of June this year, 13,951 unemployed people were registered in the Osijek-Baranja County. That is 1.7% less than the previous month and 7.0% less than in June 2021. Since registered unemployment has been monitored on a statistical level, it has never happened that the number of unemployed fell below 14,000.

Record low unemployment is the result of continuous increased economic activity, the positive effects of which we are witnessing at all levels. According to the recently published data of FINA, the 2021 business year was particularly successful for entrepreneurs from Osijek-Baranja County, with total revenue of HRK 33.511 billion, which is an increase of 17.18% compared to 2020. The profit for the period amounted to HRK 1.833 billion, which is HRK 530 million or 40.68% more than in 2020, and as an export-oriented economy, the export of HRK 6.672 billion was achieved, which is an increase of 18.3% compared to 2020.

Considering the profit of entrepreneurs, Osijek-Baranja County is positioned fifth in terms of success, following the City of Zagreb, Zagreb County, Split-Dalmatia, and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, respectively.

“In addition to the growth in the number of entrepreneurs of 4.5% compared to last year, we also note a constant increase in the number of trades. At the end of June, 5,346 trades were operating in the County, which is 337 more than in June 2021. Our measures to encourage economic activity have certainly contributed to the record low numbers, by building entrepreneurial infrastructure, primarily the Economic Centre and the Regional Distribution Centre for fruits and vegetables, but also implementing specific projects to encourage employment”, said Prefect Ivan Anušić.

Osijek-Baranja is the only county in Croatia which in cooperation with the Croatian Employment Service, Osijek Regional Office, creates and finances training and retraining programs intended for long-term unemployed persons to find employment more quickly.

Over the past five years, almost 350 unemployed people have gone through various educational programs that were fully financed by the County, as well as the cost of transportation for unemployed people.

“We continuously monitor the needs of the market and try to react with our measures. The retraining and additional training financed by the Osijek-Baranja County proved to be quality measures because 60% of people find employment afterward. Considering the excellent results of the implemented activities, in the budget for 2022 we planned a record amount of HRK 600,000.00 for the continuation of these programs”, said Prefect Anušić.

The Osijek-Baranja County continues to monitor trends in the economy and encourage the development of entrepreneurship and craftsmanship, which, judging by the results of operations last year, contributed to the improvement of the entrepreneurial climate, it was concluded.

Friday, 22 July 2022

Employers Seek Government Aid Due To Rising Electricity Prices

ZAGREB, 22 July 2022 - The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) on Friday called on the government to adopt a new aid package for the enterprise sector because of an enormous rise in energy prices.

Employers are recommending four measures - to limit the price of electricity to up to €150 per megawatt-hour for all economic operators from 1 August this year to 31 December 2023; suspend from 1 August 2022 to 31 December 2023, or permanently reduce grid use charges and excise taxes; temporarily reduce charges for renewable energy sources; and reduce the income tax base by the amount of the increase in the cost of electricity for businesses compared with 2021.

"Despite the further rise in energy prices and the deteriorating state of the economy, Croatia has still not expanded its initial package of measures adopted in February, especially in regards to significant increases in prices of electricity, which is the primary source of energy for the majority of enterprises," HUP said.

It added that the enterprise sector expects further government interventions because it cannot cope with further increases in energy prices on its own any more.

Employers warned that failure by the government to mitigate the rise in electricity prices would jeopardise not only the operation of individual companies but also the growth of the entire economy.

"Without the government's intervention, enterprises will be compelled to considerably increase the prices of their products and services, which, in the present circumstances of galloping inflation, will have an additional and significant impact on the general inflation rate," HUP said, noting that the measures they are recommending do not require any direct allocations from the budget.

The enterprise sector is willing to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, but the government needs to change the present legislative framework to make it stimulating enough for companies, HUP said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Low Croatian Youth Unemployment Rate Only Because of Demographic Issues

June the 29th, 2022 - Croatian youth unemployment is very low at this moment in time, not because of record economic growth or even because of the summer in which many people gain seasonal employment throughout the tourist season, but because of Croatia's ongoing demographic issues.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, it has never been easy for young people on the labour market, and the global coronavirus pandemic has only worsened their position. This is highlighted by recent Eurostat statistics, because the Croatian youth unemployment rate (of those aged 15 to 29) increased from 15.8 percent during the pre-pandemic year of 2019 to 2.4 percent, and then to 18.2 percent in 2021.

Croatia, however, isn't at all following these negative trends - but not for a good reason. Croatian youth unemployment rates are lower than the EU average and are continually falling. Back in 2019 it stood at 10.5 percent, and last year it dropped even further, down to 9.9 percent.

Predrag Bejakovic, a scientist at the Institute of Public Finance, explains that there are several reasons for the Croatian unemployment rate being as it is, as well as other such trends.

"The first is emigration. We don’t know the exact numbers of how many people emigrated, but the fact is that a significant number of people have left Croatia. If someone leaves, then they're usually younger people,'' says Bejakovic, adding that, in addition to emigration, the decline in the Croatian youth unemployment rate is also influenced by demographic trends, ie the fact that the share of young people in the total population in this country is always falling.

"We shouldn't forget the generous government support, the measure of the Youth Guarantee and the situation on the labour market, which is characterised by a shortage of labour," said Bejakovic.

This was a challenge for Croatia even before the unprecedented coronavirus crisis emerged

''Such trends don't mean that it's become easy for young people to find work,'' says Marta Sveb, a research assistant at the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) who addressed the problem of youth and the labour market in an analysis entitled "The Pandemic: Unemployment and the Lost COVID-19 Generation".

"Getting a job was challenging even before the coronavirus crisis, and then came the so-called an ice age when there were almost no employment opportunities due to the lockdowns,'' says Sveb. The current position of young people is again, due to the war in Ukraine and the consequent energy crisis, very uncertain.

"It's to be expected, on the one hand, that employers will employ less and less due to this crisis. On the other hand, the situation on the labour market has changed significantly and employers are facing a shortage of workers. What it will be like and what the perspective of the young people is, it's really difficult to say,'' says Bejakovic, adding that everything will depend on the outcome of the war in Ukraine.

The perspective of young people, adds Marta Sveb, due to the fourth industrial revolution, will also depend on their skills.

“The World Economic Forum points to trends of declining demand for workers in the segments that have traditionally employed the most workers in previous generations. These were, for example, data entry workers, administrative and factory workers. On the other hand, there's a growing demand for highly specialised STEM profiles,'' warns Sveb.

This generation, states the young scientist, faces challenges at every single step. But that doesn’t have to all be so bad, she adds.

"We can look at challenges as an obstacle or as an opportunity," she said, adding that those who will work to further develop their skills in those sectors, such as the green economy, will certainly find employment. The education system should, of course, be adapted to this, but for those who want success, it's much better not to wait.

There is work for everyone

The differences in the youth unemployment rates among the member states of the European Union are also interesting. They vary from 28 percent in Spain and Sweden to three and eight percent in the Czech Republic and Luxembourg.

"Unemployment in the Czech Republic is low, so youth unemployment also is. On the other hand, the general unemployment rate across the Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, Greece and Italy, is high, so it's harder for young people in those countries to find work as well,'' he concluded.

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

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

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