Saturday, 16 October 2021

Trade Union Says 23.2% of Croatians at Risk of Poverty

ZAGREB, 16 Oct, 2021 - The poverty risk rate in Croatia in 2020 was 18.3%, 23.2% of Croatians were at risk of poverty and the rate of severe material deprivation was 6.9%, the NHS trade union federation warned on Saturday, on the occasion of the International Day to Eradicate Poverty, 17 October.

The minimum net pay in 2021 is HRK 3,400, the average net monthly pay in July was HRK 7,046 and the median wage was HRK 6,000. An average Croatian household is able to cover only three quarters of its regular expenses from its regular income, and most households are forced to reallocate their funds and borrow.

Data show that in June 2021 households' debt reached HRK 138.9 billion, 4.2 billion more than in the same month of 2020.

Data from the EU's statistical office Eurostat show that in 2019 as many as 19.1% of those whose income was less than 60% of the national median were unable to afford adequate heating.

Data from the European Trade Union Institute show that since 2009 Croatia has seen the highest, 16.5% increase of all EU members in the number of households unable to afford adequate heating. 5.1% of employed persons in Croatia are poor, with the unemployed, elderly people, families with several children, single-parent households as well as single-member households, households with the minimum wage and most pensioners being the most at risk of poverty.

The average pension in 2020 was HRK 2,537.15 and the average pension of a former office-holder was HRK 10,016.56.

Croatia has become a country whose citizens are emigrating in search of a better life, a country of unstable and insecure jobs. Data show that due to job insecurity and low wages, as many as 77% of young people still live with their parents.

Stable and secure jobs, jobs with high added value, much higher minimum and all other wages and higher pensions are the only way out of poverty and social exclusion. Without that, we can only state with sadness and resignation, again on this year's International Day to Eradicate Poverty, that Croatia is an increasingly socially stratified, poor country of even poorer citizens, the NHS said.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Sunday, 5 September 2021

Vinkovci Employment Rate Encouraging, Potential for New Jobs High

September the 5th, 2021 - Vinkovci isn't a place that most people associate with economics in any way. Located in continental Croatia and further east than the City of Zagreb, many perhaps wrongly lump it in with other wrongly overlooked parts of the country which rarely get a mention in a positive economic light. That said, the Vinkovci employment rate is very encouraging, and entrepreneurs bringing job opportunities have their eye on the town.

As Novac writes, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Vinkovci is the only city in all of Eastern Croatia that is among the ten cities in the Republic of Croatia in terms of the number of employees per thousand inhabitants. Thanks to the support of the state and the City of Vinkovci, the number of entrepreneurs in Vinkovci is growing day by day, and there are no more places in the entrepreneurial zones - that's why new ones are being built.

In one Vinkovci plant, oak, walnut, ash and elm are cut, cut and dried, they make wooden products related to the serving of food for the hospitality and catering industry, said the owner Dragan Zaksek for HRT. The more unusual boards and trays are designed by Borna, who plans to work with his father after completing his high school education.

Vice Bozic successfully runs a digital marketing agency and is looking for new employees. He currently has three employees in his agency and their goal, he says, is to expand his business and work for companies from all over the world from Vinkovci.

The Vinkovci employment rate is encouraging, and there are eighteen enterprises looking for more labour in the now full business incubators, said manager Josip Cacic. They are even willing to co-finance the training of the workforce provided they commit to staying and working for them.

''We have a historically large number of employees, and this is perhaps a more important fact at this time. Throughout this pandemic, we felt almost nothing in terms of the number of employees, the gross salary grew by over 1000 kuna and there have been over 1000 new employees,'' stated the mayor of Vinkovci, Ivan Bosancic, of the impressive Vinkovci employment rate.

Vinkovci also provides subsidies to entrepreneurs and their companies, and they then provide higher salaries to their workers. Both entrepreneurial zones have been filled up, and they're now planning to bring foreign investors into the new one they're building and thus create even more new jobs.

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Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Cafes Again Allowed to Serve Customers Indoors

ZAGREB, 1 Sept, 2021 - Cafes in Croatia are again allowed to serve their customers indoors as of 1 September after they were closed for nine months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new rules announced by the national COVID-19 response team, cafes and restaurants can stay open until midnight, customers must be seated while drinking and eating and must wear face masks before taking their seats and when going to the toilet.

In late November 2020, the national COVID-19 response team ordered cafes to close their indoor premises for business, allowing only those with terraces to operate.

Catering establishments have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis over the past 18 months. "Many have been exhausted physically, psychologically and financially. There are cafes that will not be able to operate indoors because they lack staff, and there are also those that do not have terraces, so it will be a little easier for them after they were closed for nine months," the head of the independent association of cafe and restaurant owners from Zagreb, Žaklina Troskot, told Hina.

She noted that about 1,100 closed catering establishments would not reopen and that 10,000 jobs have been lost in this sector since the outbreak of the pandemic.

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Friday, 27 August 2021

Despite Crisis, 2021 Saw Fewest Dismissals So Far; Nine in Ten Jobs Insecure

ZAGREB, 27 Aug 2021 - Only one in ten people who have found a job this year have been given permanent work contracts while 90% have found short or fixed-term jobs, Večernji List daily said on Friday, noting that despite the crisis, 2021 saw the fewest dismissals so far.

With the present share of insecure and short-term work Croatia has been holding the European record for years. In the first seven months of 2021 permanent work contracts were signed by slightly less than 9,500 previously employed persons while 83,000 signed fixed-term contracts, the daily says.

Labour market fluctuations are common but mass-scale hiring based on fixed-term employment contracts, followed by dismissals, has been a constant in Croatia for the past 20 years or so.

In 2019 and 2020 around 120,000 workers were hired on a fixed-term basis annually, and some of them probably signed such contracts with the same employer more than one time. Around 100,000 annually re-registered with the employment service, where they waited for another opportunity.

The seasonal character of Croatia's economy is determined by employment in tourism and the related services but fixed-term employment is present also in all other sectors. The prevalence of short-term employment has only been partially alleviated by high government incentives to businesses that sign fixed-term employment contracts with persons under 30.

Since 2015 the state has offered five-year exemption from the payment of wage contributions to businesses that give young people permanent work contracts. These incentives are currently paid for around 150,000 young people, of whom only about 20,000 were given permanent work contracts right away.

Even though this is a strong financial intervention, it has lowered the previous share of fixed-term contracts in the total number of new contracts from 95 to 90%, which bears evidence of the complexity of the problem of short-term hiring.

The number of workers who were declared redundant in the first seven months of 2021 is similar to the same period of 2019 but it is much lower than in 2020. Apart from workers who were declared redundant, another 900 workers were fired because their employers ceased operating, which is a significantly lower number than in the past two years, the daily says.

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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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Sunday, 6 June 2021

OVI Index in May 2021 Shows Labour Demand Higher than in May 2019

ZAGREB, 6 June, 2021 - Online Vacancy Index (OVI) for May 2021 is several times higher compared to May 2020, and comparison with May 2019 shows that labour demand was about 1% higher compared to the pre-pandemic level, the Zagreb Institute of Economics (EIZ) said last Tuesday.

From the perspective of OVI index, the labour market has been showing clear signs of recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for the third consecutive month, the EIZ said.

OVI index for May 2021 is many times higher than in the same month last year, but in May 2020, the labour market was extremely inactive due to strict antipandemic rules. However, a comparison of OVI index for May 2021 and for May 2019 shows that labour demand is about 1% higher compared to the pre-pandemic level. This is the first recorded increase in labour demand, compared to the pre-pandemic level, since the pandemic started, the EIZ said.

The most sought-after occupations in May 2021 were salesperson, cook and waiter, with a total combined share in labour demand of about 28%.

"The demand for cooks and waiters has recovered significantly, which is in part a result of relatively late preparation for the tourist season," EIZ analysts said.

OVI (Online Vacancy Index) is a monthly index of online job advertisements developed by the Zagreb Institute of Economics in cooperation with the web portal MojPosao.

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Friday, 21 May 2021

April Sees 1.2% Fewer Jobless YOY

ZAGREB, 21 May 2021 - At the end of April 2021, there were 1.53 million persons in employment in Croatia, up 0.6% on the month but down 1.2% on the year, while registered unemployment dipped 0.4 percentage points on the month, falling below 9% for the first time in six months, according to the national statistical office.

At the end of April 2021, 148,744 persons were registered with the Croatian Employment Service, down 4.4% on the month and 6.6% on the year. The registered unemployment rate for April was 8.9%, the lowest since September 2020.

Raiffeisen Bank analysts say that is a direct consequence of the decrease in the number of persons registered as jobless and the simultaneous increase in the active population (1,675,699).

The expected recovery of economic activity will have a limited positive effect on employment indicators given that the government mitigated with a set of measures the unfavourable trends on the labour market during the strong economic downturn last year and at the beginning of this year, the analysts say.

Therefore we expect a mild drop in registered unemployment to below 9% this year, while the survey unemployment rate could drop to 7%, they add.

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Tuesday, 4 June 2019

300 New Work Positions to Open in Vinež Industrial Zone, Istria

Istria is set to open up new possibilities for employment with the construction and expansion of numerous companies operating within the Vinež industrial zone.

When it comes to finding work or starting a business in Croatia, you're likely to be met with little but negative and somewhat depressing headlines. Reading about the state of the economy is enough to send anyone into a spiral of depression, but if you scrape below the surface a little, you'll see that not everything is quite so bleak in reality.

As Glas Istre/Branko Biocic writes on the 4th of June, 2019, other companies also operating within the Vinež industrial zone in Istria also have plans for the expansion of their respective plants, and the MCZ factory is working on its third line for pellet boiler production, the Bibetech plant is currently planning to build a new three-thousand-square-metre hall, and an additional building of another service-grade hall.

While plans are being ''cooked'', the construction of another hall in Istria's Vinež industrial zone has actually begun. This is part of the project of the company Danieli Systec, which started work on the construction of a new production hall covering a significant three thousand square metres. Works should be completed by the end of this year, and everything will be fitted with electrical cabinets.

This is one of the investments that further raises the level which has already been marked as one of the top three in the Republic of Croatia.

In addition to this particular investment, the aforementioned company is also looking forward to the arrival of an extremely interesting company, Novation TEch. This company hails from the Italian town of Montebelluna, which manufactures parts of carbon fibers, and boasts factories in Italy and neighbouring Hungary.

The plan of this renowned company that manufactures carbon fiber parts for well-known world brands such as Formula1, as well as numerous automotive giants such as BMW and McLaren Mercedes and parts of aerospace industry, is to begin construction early in autumn and in March of next year, it aims to start working on production.

In its plant, Novation Tech plans to employ as many as ninety workers in the next two years, of which thirty will gain employment at the very beginning of the factory's functioning, giving those looking for work in Istria a reason to brush up their CV's.

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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Enormous Investment: Boeing and Airbus Parts to be Produced Near Zagreb

More than excellent news for the Croatian job market and the domestic economy as a whole as as many as 600 jobs are set to be opened in Zagreb County thanks to a huge investment.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of May, 2019, parts for the aviation giants Boeing and Airbus will be produced in the Republic of Croatia. The parts will be incorporated into the world's most famous aircraft and their engines, including names like Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, and Rolls-Royce. The news was announced on Wednesday by Večernji list, citing that the Austrian aeronautical company FACC is beginning to construct a production plant for the interior parts of planes in the business zone of Jakovlje in Zagreb County, close to the Croatian capital of Zagreb.

The investment is worth a massive 33 million euros and will open up 600 jobs. The land has already been purchased, the necessary permissions and the permit have been granted and the construction has begun. The plant should be completed by the end of 2020 and production at the plant will commence in 2021.

This great news has also been confirmed by the head of the aforementioned Austrian company Robert Machtlinger, who stated that FACC wants to grow and be quicker than the market and intends to work on strengthening the expertise of its employees. "Zagreb is offering us this because it has a highly qualified workforce," he added.

The company chose between different locations in Central and Eastern Europe and ultimately decided on Zagreb. The sale contract has already been signed, and the Austrian company has become the owner of the land in the Jakovlje business area, totalling 130 thousand square metres.

Vecernji list also revealed that a meeting will take place on Wednesday in Banski Dvori where the President of FACC AGI's management board and the president of AVIC Cabin Systems Co. Limited from China, a company which owns 55.5 percent of the Austrian company, will talk to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Economy Minister Darko Horvat and State Secretary Zdenk Lucić about the project implementation and everything that goes into the planning and licensing phase.

The plan is that construction work on the plant will be completed by December 2020, and production will begin no later than April 2021, according to Dnevnik.

As a daughter company of the Chinese state-owned company Aviation Industry Corporation of China, one of the ten largest Chinese companies, FACC, based in Austria, is part of the global market and cooperates with world leaders in the aviation industry such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce. FACC is otherwise a company with more than 3,400 employees from 38 countries which work in thirteen locations worldwide, Vecernji list writes.

They added that un the financial year 2018/2019, they earned 781.6 million euros in revenue, an increase of 4.5 percent compared to the previous financial year, and also the best result in the company's thirty-year history.

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Sunday, 28 April 2019

More Than Third of Graduates with Diplomas in Croatia Unemployed

As Mirela Lilek/Novac writes on the 27th of April, 2019, Croatia's situation still isn't good: the country is continuing to ''produce'' graduates with the third lowest employment rate in the whole of the European Union, and as a result, taxpayers pay more and more money for them. According to new data from Brussels, based on a comparative survey of youth employment among Croats with diplomas earned in the last three years, a third of highly educated people aged between 20 to 34 in Croatia have no jobs. Only Italy and Greece are worse.

Of the 28 countries EU member states, Croatia ranked 26th with a 66 percent employability rate. Four positions above Croatia lies Romania, Bulgaria is six places above, and Slovakia is nine places above. Croatia's neighbour to the north, Slovenia, is eleven places above Croatia, Poland is thirteen places above (impressively right behind Ireland and Denmark), and the Czech Republic, with an 89.9 percent employability rate which has impressed the European Commission's experts - has risen to an enviable fourth place.

Malta is in first place in Europe as an employer of its graduates with diplomas, the employment rate of Maltese students stands at a very impressive 94.5 percent, even better than Germany, which boasts a rate of 90.9 percent, followed then by the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and then Austria. The EU average is on the rise, back in 2014 it stood at 76 percent and in 2018 it stood at 80.2 percent. Unfortunately, the Croats have been close to the bottom for years, more specifically for fifteen years, as it has a below-average rate of employability in relation to the EU. Of course, rather than attempt to fix the problem directly, the Croats are doing what the Croats always do - continuing to debate and argue over who is (more) to blame for such embarrassing conditions.

Economists see the issue as being that the Croats aren't adapting easily to the market, and that Croatia also has an old education system. At Croatia's universities, they argue that the key issue isn't Croatia's higher education institutions, but an underdeveloped labour market, low personal income, and demotivating working conditions. Experts from the European Commission have given a relatively simple answer: Investing in education will benefit everyone in Europe.

Let's see how they explain their theories in some of the country's universities, starting with the largest "producers" of graduates in the entire country, the Faculty of Philosophy and Economics in Zagreb.

''We're aware of the importance of linking study programs and labour market needs. In this regard, the Faculty of Economics makes an effort to make it easier for students to access the labour market by establishing multilateral cooperation with companies and respectable institutions that enable students to perform high-quality professional practices,'' stated Sanja Sever Mališ, who deals with strategic partnerships and projects at the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb. The basic message from this particular Zagreb university is that "they connect students and employers so their best students can find work even during their studies." Therefore, there is no concern for them.

On the other hand, Vesna Vlahović-Štetić, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, admits that Croatia's humiliating placement at the bottom of the employability scale of graduates is still something to be very concerned about and therefore the causes of that need to be looked at.

''I assume that part of the problem lies in insufficient development and the ability of the economy and the public sector to absorb newly graduated students. On the other hand, the question is how many colleges and higher education institutions meet the needs of society with their respective programs. At the state level, in some professions there's hyper-production, and in others there is a lack of experts. Additionally, study programs should be regularly updated and developed to meet not only society's needs but also predict what competences professionals will need in the future,'' the dean says.

Data obtained through the HKO project of the Faculty of Philosophy shows that the employability of their students in the year after graduation is 75 percent. They believe this is the result of "the excellent professional and generic competences of their graduates".

"We're convinced at the Faculty of Philosophy that the study programs need to be further improved, so we have just started the study reform process and I'm sure the future employability of our students will be even better," says the university's dean.

The rector of the University of Rijeka, Snježana Prijić Samaržija, doesn't want to run away from the fact that Croatia's universities do hold a share of the responsibility for this issue but, again, she's convinced that Croatia's higher education institutions are't the key cause of the problem, but the underdeveloped labour market definitely is.

Rijeka University has eleven faculties and four departments. On their official page, they point out that they are a modern European university and a centre of excellence within the region and beyond, and that they are responsible for the social and economic development of the community. Samardžija claims that she doesn't want to relate the worrying data on the high rate of unemployed with higher education, but that "it should be borne in mind that higher education is a better job-finding guarantee, such as landing a permanent position,"

"Of course, it's possible to say that the employment rate would be higher if universities, by some automation, increased their quotas for the job-type deficit and reduced those profiles for which the employment bureaus take care of. In that sense, people often say Croatia's institutions and their enrollment policies aren't adapted to the labour market. However, the situation isn't quite that simple.

For example, the market seeks shipbuilding engineers, we have shipbuilding studies and a corresponding quota at the University of Rijeka, but there's a fall in interest for those studies. We can understand the students' fears about the situation with Croatia's shipyards, but the fact is that the need for this profession is still growing. Similarly, despite the lack of mathematics and physics teachers and the excellent studies we have, the interest doesn't match the employment opportunities,'' she explained.

The University of Rijeka decided to put seven studies ''into retirement'' this year, and isn't accepting students for them. Those are acting and media, dental hygiene, computer science in combination with professional studies of medical-lab diagnostics, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding, and electrical engineering.

On the other hand, there's a considerable level of interest in studies that don't guarantee quick and permanent employment at all, such as the arts, cultural studies, and psychology.

''Young people choose studies according to their personal interests, not just employment opportunities. They don't necessarily just want a permanent job, many of them are accustomed to gaining work experience in different institutions, at different places of work, and in different countries. More and more, they prefer to individually define the curriculum through courses and practical competences beyond their study program(s), which will make their expertise comparatively more special and desirable. In the midst of a sluggish and non-ethnological labour market, more and more students enjoy prolonged youthful relationships with their parents or rent apartments,'' says Snježana Prijić Samaržija.

"I don't want to run away from the responsibility of the university, we're constantly thinking about the jobs of the future, we're working on increasing the quota for the deficit professions and improving our students' competences to reduce the unemployment rate. However, time is needed to see the results of these measures because the higher education cycle lasts for at least five years. It should be understood that universities can't just simply increase quotas for occupations for which there's a labour market need because new employment is frozen,'' noted the Rector of the University of Rijeka.

As Croatia's paradoxical situation of having no work but plenty of jobseekers, yet plenty of work and no staff, it's hard to predict the outcome of education system reforms as the market and its needs can alter so rapidly. Will Croatian students simply continue to trickle away on the stream of a proverbial leaking tap out into Western Europe, leaving Croatia with the rather unenviable title of a country that educates its citizens for work abroad? It's likely such a scenario will continue at least for the foreseeable future. Whether or not Croatia will manage to make the necessary alterations to fix that aforementioned ''leaky tap'' in time remains to be seen.

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Click here for the original article by Mirela Lilek for Novac/Jutarnji

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