Saturday, 5 January 2019

Croatian Employers Already Searching for Staff and Promising Higher Wages

The demographic has had numerous repercussions on Croatian society as a whole, and a lack of adequate or qualified labour force for Croatian employers is perhaps the most hard hit sector of them all. But just how is the tourism sector doing?

The paradoxical society which somehow manages to exist despite all and any circumstance in Croatia is that there is no work for a lot of people, while on the other hand there is a lot of work on offer but nobody to actually do it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of January, 2019, from November 2018 to February 2019, HZZ is conducting a survey among Croatia's unemployed population on their intentions and their readiness to work along the coast in various tourist destinations.

Croatian employers, more specifically hoteliers from numerous tourist resorts up and down the Croatian coast are searching out potential seasonal staff from continental Croatia earlier and earlier with each passing year, with their sights set on the overlooked eastern Croatia in particular. Thus, HZZ's Vinkovci-based regional office has already organised as many as eight employer visits for the purpose of seeking seasonal workers for 2019's upcoming tourist season this summer.

In order to better respond to the demands of Croatian employers and to better coordinate the job supply with the demand, HZZ's aforementioned survey focused primarily on how Croatia's unemployed population feel about working on the coast should the opportunity be offered to them.

The day of jobs in tourism for the Slavonian counties is set to be held on January the 18th in Osijek, and HZZ's Vinkovci branch office is organising transport on the day for all those interested, Glas Slavonije writes.

As of now, it is unofficially known that Croatian employers are willing to offer higher salaries, raising them by 10 to 20 percent for chefs, waiters and confectioners, with almost all potential job offers including not only free accommodation, but free food for the duration of the work too.

In the past year, from January to September, the most sought after were employees chefs, assistant chefs, waiters, cleaners, receptionists, people to work in shops, and other occupations in the area of ​​accommodation and food preparation and service, as well as the wholesale and retail trade.

In that period, there was a pressing need for 23,652 seasonal workers in Croatia, and a little less, 22,144, were actually employed during that time, which indicates that Croatia's lack of seasonal workers is not significant or particularly worrying, yet.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for more information on Croatian employers and much more.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Digital Croatia: Country Lacks Citizens with Advanced Digital Skills

The desire of many Croatian companies, institutions and state bodies is to create a digital Croatia, in which the country's draconian and almost masochistic love of paperwork and stamps are banished to the past and recalled only as a bad memory. Despite the wishes of many, it seems that the dream of a digital Croatia will take a while to become a reality.

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of December, 2018, the increase in the number of employees of various digital professionals in Croatian companies, and the retention of qualified digital professionals in Croatia, are two key goals for the establishment of the national coalition for digital skills and jobs.

A new body, coordinated by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), has kicked off with its work in Croatia. Representatives of HUP-ICT Association, the Croatian Government, the Ministry of Science and Education and the Ministry of Labour signed a memorandum on the establishment of the national coalition for digital skills and jobs.

Davor Majetić, CEO of HUP, says that digitalisation is now absolutely imperative for all companies which want to be competitive on today's market, and this is felt by the significant change that we have experienced in Croatia since 1997 in terms of jobs and employment.

"We lack digital skills and ICT professionals in all industries, and we're continuing to persuade people that the issue of digital skills is a matter of 21st century literacy, a standard without which our children will not be ready for the labour market," stated Majetić, adding that in solving this very issue lies an opportunity for the national coalition for digital skills and jobs.

Boris Drilo, President of HUP ICT Association and member of the Croatian Telecommunications Board, said that their ultimate desire is to move the current ICT sector's positive momentum over into other sectors of the economy and transform the Croatian economy into a digital economy.

He says that in Croatia's neighbouring countries, as well as in the rest of the European Union, the ratio is in favor of having a digital economy, as opposed to the traditional 3:1 contribution to the overall GDP of the country. He claims that the situation in Croatia is currently the other way around, adding that Croatia currently has about 50,000 ICT experts, and that the country needs 200,000 citizens with advanced digital skills for further market competition at an international level.

Bernard Gršić, State Secretary of the Central State Office for Digital Society Development, stressed that the work of this body is supported by the Croatian Government.

"This coalition should address the challenges of multi-level digital skills, and the work of the coalition is being supported by the Government of the Republic of Croatia and by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković," Gršić said.

Hrvoje Balen, Vice President of the HUP-ICT Association, who is also a member of Algebra board, says that the Republic of Croatia is experiencing a significant increase in the emigration of younger and highly educated individuals, he therefore highlighted the two main goals set by the coalition: an overall increase in the number of digital professionals, and their retention here in Croatia.

This Croatian coalition will likely become a leading power in the creation of a digital Croatia and is part of the grand coalition for digital jobs initiative, which was initially launched three years ago by the European Commission with the aim of linking the economy, educational institutions, and the state together to work on the general development of digital competencies.

Is digital Croatia on a concrete path to reality? Only time will tell.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for more information on the transformation of digital Croatia and much more.


Click here for the original article by Bernard Ivezic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 21 December 2018

Koprivnica to Become Location for Future of Pyrotechnics in Croatia

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of December, 2018, as a group, Orion achieves revenue of about 6 million euro and is constantly investing in security, consumer education, and further innovation. Owing to the constant investment and care of their business, Koprivnica is set to get a huge cash injection, and new work positions are set to be opened.

Poslovni Dnevnik talked with Damir Šimunic, the founder and owner of Koprivnica's Orion, about the situation and the development of the market for pyrotechnics in Croatia and the wider region, the business plans of the company, and the latest investment in Podravina.

In which countries is Orion the market leader?

As a company, we've existed for more than twenty years and the word ''leader'' carries with it a huge responsibility. If you think about where the Orion Group does business under that [title], most of it is done in neighbouring countries, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. In Croatia, we've established a serious business system based on the professionalism and an innovative approach with pyrotechnics, which today, primarily, is mainly in the entertainment world. Over the years, we've become the leading specialised company for producing and distributing entertainment pyrotechnics, fireworks, and stage effects. As a company, we're oriented towards the development of new products in order to meet the needs of a more demanding market.

How did you manage to break even on Western markets such as Austria or Belgium?

In Croatia, there is a fairly regulated market for pyrotechnics, because we're part of the European Community, but on the western markets the laws are very rigorous and without the required quality [standard] you can't be competitive. Foreign distributors have recognised our product quality as well as our distribution service, so we started working with Austria and Belgium over time. All our pyrotechnics have CE certificates, which is the European standard today, and a prerequisite for sales on the EU market.

Why did you decide to go into the world of pyrotechnics?

Like all kids, I liked pyrotechnics during my childhood and over time, that game turned into work. In those years, especially during the 1990s, the pyrotechnic market was not regulated and as a company we were actively involved in drafting regulations and then developing the market in accordance with those regulations. After that, from a small family business, I managed to create a serious company that employs over 120 people during the sales season and is developing new products that are successfully marketed every year.

When and how did you become the market leader in Croatia?

We started with the sale of pyrotechnics back in 1993, first as a distributor for foreign brands and then as independent importers from China. Of course, there was no serious and well-organised sales system before, because not even the legal regulations were defined, but today, our company has the most selling points in Croatia. According to the number of sales outlets, ie chains we supply, and according to the number of our seasonal sales outlets, popularly known as pyroshops, we've been a distributor since 2009 in Croatia. We've been seriously present in the region since 2006, and in 2012 we took the lead. In Croatia, we supply a total of over 4,000 sales outlets.

If you do, how do you influence the development of the local community?

Like every responsible company, we work very closely with our local community. We're sponsors and donors for many activities and events and we're involved in a large number of humanitarian, cultural, sport and social events both in Croatia and in the region. So, within our capabilities, we help local communities realise their projects.

Is the law on sales in Croatia too high? And what is it like in the rest of the EU?

The law has set rules which apply to everyone. The provisions of the law primarily protect consumers and users. In that, there will always be those who are satisfied and those who are less satisfied with the prescribed rules, but we didn't invent the rules. A major problem is in controlling and enforcing the law due to a short sale period. We have always supported the more transparent [way of doing] business, and as such, a clearer and more concrete law, because only a market of that kind can function properly.

How many sales outlets (pyroshops) do you have in Croatia and beyond?

In Croatia, we have 260 of our own pyroshops and about 100 distributors. In other countries in the region, we have several of our own pyroshops and we serve over 350 sales outlets. But as time passes and given the fact that we're introducing some modern forms of marketing into our system, the story is expanding rapidly and in three years we expect to expand on the regional market.

What are your specialty stores and your distributors' stores?

Specialised pyrotechnic shops must obtain approval from the Ministry of Interior to conduct retail sales of pyrotechnic items. The conditions for such an approval include staff training, fire prevention, security protocols, anti-burglary protection and a variety of other conditions that ensure safe storage and the safe sale of entertainment pyrotechnics. Pyrotechnics is fun, but to be able to sell them, we as distributors have to meet a number of legal and safety rules.

How much is your annual income?

Orion as a group earns about 6 million euro in revenue depending on the season and on the market conditions. Of course, as a company, it's in our interest to grow, and every year we're investing additional resources into security, the education of our consumers, as well as the innovations that are indispensable if we want to keep up with modern world trends.

How do your sales go outside of the main season?

Out of the main sales season, that is, from January to November, a smaller part of the range is sold. Mostly specialised [items] for purposes such as naval pyrotechnics and rescue pyrotechnics. There are, of course, party pyrotechnics (confetti, cake fountains, sprays etc.), professional pyrotechnics and special effects that are always sought throughout the year, especially for some festivals, concerts and the like. We also produce a great number of fireworks and stage effects during the tourist season, and there are more and more wedding pyrotechnics which are always attractive.

What innovations in pyrotechnics are you introducing?

We're constantly working on the development and improvement of the safety-technical properties of pyrotechnics so that we can make our customers as safe as possible. We have two recognised patents. A more secure rocket system, a worldwide-recognised patent, followed by a patented security system for firecrackers and innovation called PyroBlock. Pyroblock is the latest technology for box fireworks that we have launched on the market. Now our fireworks are even better and even safer, so that users can enjoy their luxurious effects and our spectacular fireworks.

What are the trends in sales that today's customers look for the most?

As information and education grows alongside the fans of entertainment pyrotechnics, consumer trends and tastes are changing. Once upon a time, firecrackers made up 80 percent of sales, while today they account for less than 40 percent, and consumers are increasingly using our fireworks, rockets, fountains and Roman candles. Naturally, firecrackers will always be popular, but the trends are changing, and interesting new items are always expected from us as the market leaders.

How are you approaching the younger generation - events, collaboration with YouTubers and influencers?

We use all permitted channels for communication with our consumers. Today, we live in the digital age, so we've adapted to this trend which will soon become our strongest communication medium with the youth. Currently, social networking is in fashion, YouTubers and influencers closely monitor what's happening in this product segment. What is in and what is not in is created today by the media of the younger generation who capture everything on their vlogs and videos. Through these channels, we primarily want to act educationally and affirmatively to give the younger generation better quality information with an emphasis placed on security and regulation. Education through entertainment has always been effective, it is today just as it was before. Some things never change.

What are your business plans for the future?

The list of plans is time-consuming and is solely related to the development and production of safer and more quality products. We're an entertainment industry and our goal is to have safe entertainment successfully implemented. This is possible only by investing constantly in infrastructure, technology, equipment, and our expert associates. For this reason, we're able to announce the construction and expansion of the regional distributive centre in Koprivnica, and thus create a new need for workers. The planned value of investment in the distribution center and storage systems amounts to 1.5 million euro, and it will be the future of pyrotechnics in Croatia and in the region. This business policy has provided us with a leading position in the region as consumers have recognised our work and the effort that we invest into our products.

Mišel Jakšić, the mayor of Koprivnica stated that he welcomes every good entrepreneurial idea and investment, and expressed his desire to encourage young people to stay in the city.

"As the Mayor of Koprivnica, I'm proud of the economy of this city that we're increasingly developing every day. The business zones which are expanding, and the entrepreneurial incubator, where more and more young people are ready to start their own businesses, is our vision and desire to provide a decent life for young people The cooperation with Orion as the leader of the fun-pyrotechnic market is exceptional, and every year Orion sponsors our events as a responsible company in the local community. As Mayor of Koprivnica, I will always support all the important, however big or small entrepreneurial endeavors so that our young people remain here in Koprivnica, and so that employment gets as high as possible,'' the mayor concluded.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on Croatian companies, products and services, as well as doing business in Croatia, and the overall business and investment climate.


Click here for the original article by PD i VL native tim

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Economic Boost for Croatia: Country to Gain Huge Tea Factory

As much as people prefer to stick with the depressing stories of there being no jobs, or no workers, or whichever saga fits best with their coffee that morning, there are moves being made in the continental part of the country for the greater good, and one economic boost for Croatia is on its way, in the form of one of the largest tea factories in not only the region, but the whole of Europe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of December, 2018, the current plan is to allow for the completely uninterrupted operation of the factory in order to continuously deliver ready-made products to markets that have already been contracted.

In what is certain to be a significant economic boost for Croatia, in the Rakita business zone in Kladare, the Spider Group is building a large, modern tea factory worth 28 million kuna, in which as many as 400 million teabags will be packed annually. In addition, fifty new employees will also be sought and recruited. As mentioned, this factory will be the largest tea factory in the region and among the largest in Europe, according to a report from Glas Slavonije.

The Spider Group specialises in the processing of medicinal and aromatic herbs and the production of teas and preparations based on such herbs. All of the Spider Group companies - Spider Group d.o.o., Biofarma d.o.o., Dolla d.o.o., Jan-spider d.o.o., as well as Herbarium d.o.o., are integral parts of a solid business unit which produces high-quality, finished products on both the domestic and on international markets.

One of the main features of the Spider Group is intense growth and continued investment in technology, as well as infrastructure development, which confirms that previous investments made by the company are being continued forward with more new ones.

Back in 2016, an investment cycle of more than 15,000,000 kuna was completed, which directly strengthened the group's overall competitiveness on the world market. In mid 2018, a new investment was successfully launched, amounting to more than 28,000,000 kuna for the construction and the equipping of factories for the packing of teas in the Rakita business zone in Pitomača, according to Denis Nemčević of the aforementioned group.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more news on the Croatian economy, as well as on doing business in Croatia and the country's overall business and investment climate.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Pula Company Raises Wages, Plans Move to New Location

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of December, 2018, every year, this Pula company produces almost 4,000 tons of varying baked products, and it's mostly bread and other rolls whose sales are continuing to grow.

Brionka, a Pula company, is the leading Istrian bakery and confectionery producer operating within the wider Rijeka area, and in early December is marketed popular and traditional dry Christmas cakes to mark the beginning of the festive season, as well as sweet bread with raisins. Over the past month, they have placed a new dessert on the market, namely a marble cake, and they are currently preparing for the upcoming placement of three more new desserts, cheesecake and cakes with a cookie which will be available at the end of this year or at the latest, early next year, according to Ivan Smetko, the production manager of the aforementioned Pula company.

As Glas Istre writes, in spite of numerous past doubts and the unenviable debts of Brionka's former management body, this Pula company is now operating positively, the salaries of its 250 employees increased by 20 percent, and the plans are to move to a new location in Pula or even in nearby Vodnjan where they could work from one place and thus further reduce the company's overall expenses, says Brionka's managing director, Mladen Anić.

As stated, this Pula company produces an enormous amount of food, with their production of almost 4,000 tons of bakery products, the most being bread rolls which have seen company sales grow by three to five percent. The biggest increase of 20 to 30 percent per year, however, is owing to the company's more salty range, including the beloved burek, which is commonly picked up on the go owing to the fast pace of life and the need for fast food.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on Croatian companies, products and services, what's going on in the business world in Croatia, and doing business here.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Shopping in Croatia: New Retail Chain Looks for Workers

A new retail chain is coming to from Italy and offering a wealth of new possibilities for shopping in Croatia. Eurospin is a discount store with enviable revenue and income, and it is bringing job openings with it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of December, 2018, not so long ago, Germany's Hofer attempted to take to the Croatian market, announcing its opening in the western part of Zagreb and its surroundings, even going as far as to recruit workers, and then, without explanation, it withdrew.

With regard to ads on social networks in both Zagreb and Rijeka seeking workers, construction land, commercial property with parking in cities with more than 10,000 people living there, the question is when will the Croatian market become richer for another major international trade chain - Eurospin.

As Vecernji list writes, Eurospin is a classic Italian discount store with more than 1,000 stores across Italy and 80 in neighbouring Slovenia, boasting about 7,000 workers, record revenues of 4.7 billion euro and an income of 184 million euro in 2017.

While this is far from the leading ten players in Europe, among which the Schwarz group is the frontrunner with both Lidl and Kaufland in the same portfolio, when it comes to the Croatian market, in which the top ten of the total 38.7 percent of total retail revenues continues to hold more than 80 percent of the market share, the Eurospin concept such as PennyMarket, Aldi, or Hofer is certainly significant when it comes to shopping in Croatia.

Specialising in the discounted sale of food products and daily shopping, Eurospin differs from other competitors in Europe by selling its brands exclusively. There are no classic brands found in other chains in these stores, only those that this retail chain's team plotted through its very own network of carefully selected partners.

The company has adjusted the format of its products in accordance with the taste and traditions of the individual markets, as Lidl is doing today, and this formula proved to be a winning one, first in Italy, and then in neighbouring Slovenia.

Back in 2000, they were the first in Italy in this segment by the number of sales points, turnover, and number of customers, they now want to become the most significant in Europe.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for information on doing business, retail, and shopping in Croatia and much more.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Major Project Will See Croatian Company Open 100 New Work Positions

One Croatian company which deals primarily with Information Technology has launched a praiseworthy project with the help of European Union funds. The project will see around 100 new work position opened.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of November, 2018, one year ago, the laying of the foundation stones of the business took place. Today, located in the ​​Jalkovec entrepreneurial zone near Varaždin, the new business space belonging to Mobilisis d.o.o., which produces modern, innovative IT infrastructure for industrial process management, as well as mobile collection and data transfer, has been officially opened.

The construction and equipping of the brand new building, which will greatly increase the company's production capacities, has been co-financed by European Union funds, via the means of a tender from the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts. Namely, within the framework of the public call for the ''competence and development of small and medium enterprises", the aforementioned company announced its project, entitled "increasing the production capacities of Mobilisis d.o.o. with the building of a new business space and investing in equipment'' amounting to more than 38 million kuna, of which a total of 13.7 million kuna in non-refundable funds was granted.

As the director of the company Krešimir Meštrić pointed out at the opening ceremony, this investment will enable the doubling of sales revenue and also enable further development in line with global trends.

"Today, we're not just opening the building here, but we're opening up more than 100 jobs, at a location which was just a meadow a few years ago. We couldn't have created a better space conversion [than this one]. But with this greenfield investment, the owners of the company have taken a great deal of responsibility upon themselves because this project represents only the physical fulfillment of the conditions. Ahead of us lie the realisation of the plans, but I believe that in this way, we've shown the path and the ambitions that we need to have, which must work to give us confidence and encourage positive trends,'' said Mestrić, emphasising the fact that not only will the company's realised ideas and innovations be created there, but they will also aim to attract business partners from all over the world.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for more encouraging Croatian company stories.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Croatian Employers' Association Claims Croatia Learned Nothing from Crisis

The Croatian Employers' Association score which measures the implementation of reforms in twelve key areas puts the Republic of Croatia at the very bottom of the European Union.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 22nd of November, 2018, after the World Bank and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) showed data this past month that proved the country is lagging behind in terms of business and investment climate, the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) has confirmed this unfavourable position once again with its HUP score. Moreover, according to HUP, which, as stated, measures the implementation of reforms across twelve key areas, it appears that Croatia has the worst score in the EU, even worse than countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, which are still considered weaker and less developed than Croatia.

"The first significant shift from the beginning of the measure of the HUP score (op.a. 2013) has been confirmed, but Croatia is still at the back end of the ''New Europe''. It's obvious that the country doesn't possess the capacity for quick economic growth and convergence. The problems with the entrepreneurial climate aren't caused by culture and mentality, but primarily by weak institutions,'' they state from HUP, adding that, first and foremost, the system of public and state enterprises needs to be reduced, restructured, professionalised, depoliticised, and then privatised, and that's how more investments will occur.

These preliminary results indicate that the HUP score for 2018 stands at 37, which is one point less than it was last year.

"This result shows that Croatia also lags considerably in regard to EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe (EU10) this year. Economic growth, which was re-established in 2015 after a long six-year crisis, was an indicator of economic strength and good looks. The lessening of that score for this year should be interpreted as an indication that the current growth impulse has a cyclical or rather passing character. Deep economic and institutional structures remain weak due to the lack of reforms,'' they note from HUP.

Not one figure in the aforementioned twelve areas exceeds 2/3 of the maximum value, which means that Croatia doesn't have a strong competitive edge in some areas. The biggest visible improvement can be seen in regard to fiscal consolidation (from 54 in 2017 to 56 in 2018), productivity and competitiveness (from 34 to 45), and capital supply (from 36 to 42). The HUP score of the education and pension system is still "in the red ", but was held at 26, while the justice system stands at at 33.

The biggest negative change can be seen in terms of the fall of the investment score and needless limitations and business barriers (from 35 in 2017 to 23 in 2018), following the rise in the cost of establishing a company and increasing the number of procedures for obtaining building permits and dealing with public administration due to the rapid growth in the number of days needed to launch a business. The areas of economic burden (19) and the labour market (22) continue to be critical, year on year. Gordana Deranja, the president of HUP, believes that Croatia is experiencing weak progress and is stagnating because other countries are more successful and faster when it comes to adapting properly to new circumstances and conditions.

"The burden on the economy is still high, which is why we can't be completely satisfied with the last wave of tax changes. Although we do consider them to be a step in the right direction, they're insufficient to give the economy a more serious positive incentive, and it's necessary to maintain the current growth rates, this relates particular to the burden on [taxes on] salaries.

The [situation with the] labour market situation is really difficult. There is not enough of a qualified workforce, and the pressure on wage growth is high. The problem is that with the current burdens, tax and everything else, employers have no room for further and more substantial salary increases without jeopardising the viability of their business. Instead of looking for room for greater decompression on companies and people, our budget continues to grow. Obviously, we haven't learned anything from the crisis. As a country, we continue to spend more than we make. We're just part of the expensive credits, which have now been replaced by funds from European Union funds, and these funds are the only development moment for the budget for 2019. There's no indication of any serious reforms in it [the budget], and that's what we all need to worry about,'' stated Deranja.

Davor Majetić, the Croatian Employers' Association's chief executive, pointed out that without stronger economic growth, nothing will stop more people from leaving the country, especially young people and those who make up Croatia's labour force.

"A serious labour shortage can endanger this kind of growth we now have, which is not the only problem for employers, it's a problem that needs to be solved systematically and comprehensively, the question of whether or not there will be enough maids, waiters, traders, etc depends on the salaries of doctors, teachers, policemen and soldiers,'' said Majetić, adding that everything that the Croatian Employers' Association points to as neuralgic points continue on being repeated from year to year - the burden on the economy, the labour market, the health system, the education and pension system, and the judiciary.

"The government is taking steps, but they're not enough because the huge problems we've inherited are enormous, and the changes we're making aren't going deep enough, nor are they big enough to be called reforms, which is why their reach is so limited, and when compared to other countries, we continue to remain behind them, trapped at the bottom of the European Union,'' concluded Majetić.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and politics pages for more information on the Croatian Employers' Association, the domestic economic situation, and potential reforms.


Click here for the original article by Darko Bicak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Croatia Falls Short as EU Demands More Women in Management Positions

The EU wants to see around 40 percent of women making up positions on company management and supervisory boards by the year 2020, and Croatia falls short. According to various results, gender-balanced business has increased revenues and directly affects GDP growth, and unemployment level is also reduced in general.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of November, 2018, if women are successful, their countries are also successful - this was the conclusion of the conference on rights and business: The Positive Effects of Adopting a New European Regulatory That Strengthens Business and Women. The conference brought together women in managerial positions and was focused mainly on the overall importance of improving gender balance in managerial positions, how to properly lobby for this directive in state bodies and in private sectors, and the practice of good gender politics and examples of good practice throughout the territory of the EU.

Back in 2015, lawyer Tarja Krehić, along with fifty colleagues, founded the Croatian Association of Women in the Legal Profession, of which Krehić is president. She explained in detail the goals and the legal aspects of improving gender equality in management boards, backed by the statistics of the Republic of Croatia.

What motivated you to found the Croatian women's association in the legal profession? What does that deal with?

Law associations exist in the United States, in all European Union countries, they also act as umbrella organisations which bring together lawyers, and they observe women's empowerment trends and regulations. Since I graduated in law in the United States, I got acquainted with women's associations in the legal professions and realised how important it is for women, for business, and for justice.

In Zagreb, I gathered together colleagues, prominent judges, attorneys, and lawyers in economics. We founded the association and today we've gathered together more than 400 lawyers from all sorts of legal branches, from judges and state attorneys, to corporate lawyers and lawyers in economy. We're working on some interesting projects, and we'll begin with an academy that will be attended by students of the Faculty of Law, in order to improve their knowledge, and also for the profession to get what it needs from young lawyers.

I believe that the quality of knowledge at law faculties and at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb could be better. Practitioners who don't understand the practice and these new trends are on their way out. We're also organising a professional lecture where we bring experts and lawyers who talk more in detail about all the problems of the system with which society is not very well informed.

We deal with the legal profession, in a quality, professional, modern way, and not the conservative and traditional way in which it's being perceiving today. We also open up issues related to the EU and the effects of adopting the European regulation which empowers women in business and law.

What about the statistics on the representation of women in managerial positions in Croatia?

There's a so-called ''glass ceiling'' in the whole society and so to some extent in the legal profession. When we focus on the legal profession, more than 70 percent of lawyers are female and in the judiciary, yet we've never had a female president of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, and we've never had a female state attorney.

The Faculty of Law in Zagreb has existed for more than 240 years, and we've only had two female deans. Obviously, the status of women in our profession, as well as in general business, could be improved. There are many women in business and law who want to get into leadership positions and be leaders, but have a problem with that due to fear and a lack of ambition.

Given the rather defeating results, how do we improve the status of women in business, and thus stimulate the economy, too?

At the EU level, it was determined that women are highly qualified and skilled but not sufficiently utilised in their own professions. To improve the economy and to deal with international trends on a global level, society as a whole needs to be engaged. Having a large group of highly skilled personnel that is not adequately used presents with a problem that needs to be solved.

It places this issue as the number one issue and deals with the implementation of the [EU] directive for laying down a fixed female quota for the management boards of companies, which has already been implemented by a large number of European Union countries.

There's a law in Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Austria which states that the management boards of the largest companies listed on the stock exchange must have 30-40 percent women working in them, and if they don't, then they don't even have an adequately functioning company. There is another set of EU countries that don't use a quota regulation but use self-regulating measures.

Their goal is the same, and that is to have 30 or 40 percent of women on supervisory boards and within company management, not by statutory obligation, but by self-regulating measures, meaning that the business has sat down at the table and said we obviously have unbalanced management functions in terms of gender. We'll impose those rules on ourselves. For example, the United Kingdom managed to reach up to 27 to 28 percent of women in the supervisory boards of some of the largest companies in ten years by using self-regulatory measures, and they started out with just ten percent.

What should we be focusing on, and what is the level of importance of this directive, and ultimately, what are the benefits for the country?

We need to work, act, and introduce concrete measures, which unfortunately doesn't work in our country, neither by passing laws nor by self-regulatory measures. The statistics don't support us. In Croatia, 21-22 percent of women work in administrations, 19 percent work on the supervisory boards of stock exchange companies, and Europe have said that by 2020, we must have between 30 and 40 percent women in such positions.

So, we don't stand well at all and the problem is that nobody is actually dealing with this issue. We don't advocate the application of any of these methods, but we're insisting on the fact that it's necessary to act on them. It's up to the state, state bodies and the profession to decide upon the direction by which this imbalance should be resolved.

The gender-balanced business management structure has increased revenues and directly influences GDP growth, it reduces unemployment of women and unemployment in general, it improves natality and addresses pension issues as women contribute to the pension system.

Through projects like the debate on the directive, we're doing only good for our society, the EU recognises that and we want to put Croatia on the map of those countries which are dealing with the gender-balanced business issue. We want to live in a country that is advanced financially, economically, socially, and in every other aspect, and through expert engagement on these topics, we'll manage to arrive to this.

Although Croatia falls short in this respect at the moment, the situation appears likely to improve, likely at a far slower pace than most would want. Want to keep up with more information like this? Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.


Click here for the original article/interview by Lucija Spiljak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 9 November 2018

Zagreb Bypasses Competition, Chosen as New Centre for Swiss Company

As Sergej Novosel Vuckovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of November, 2018, Zagreb has been chosen in a group of 40 cities across Europe as the seat of the new centre for software in 40 cities of Europe, and has also entered the final six along with Sofia, Bucharest, Belgrade, Madrid, and Lisbon.

Croatian IT experts have thus had a brand new and welcome opportunity to stay in their home country created for them.

The Adcubum company from Switzerland came to Zagreb where it has just opened its Software Solutions Development Centre. The investment is worth 12 million euro over a three year period, as was explained by the director of the Croatian branch of the company, Bojan Poljičak.

"This is a Swiss greenfield investment, related to the development of a service centre for software development. These are high value added services, focused on development and exports,'' stated Poljičak, who was also once the director of Adecco Croatia. Adcubum has otherwise been in existence for twenty years, and has been active in Austria and Germany as well as at home in its parent country of Switzerland, specialising in business information technology solutions for insurance companies. There are 350 employees in total, and in Zagreb there are now seven more.

By the end of this year, there will be ten workers, and what is particularly stimulating for domestic experts is the announcement that they plan to employ 40 people each year over the next five years in order to reach a total of 200 employees in Croatia by the end of 2023.

"Profiles that are of interest to us are engineers for software development. We're very satisfied with the level of knowledge and skills of the existing candidates and at the beginning, we encountered a good level of interest. Just like it is in other countries, the main challenge will be to find, attract, and retain a sufficient number of suitable candidates, but we're positive about it and we expect that we'll be able to bring our plans to fruition,'' explained Poljičak. The main product of Adcubum, which will be done in Zagreb, is SYRIUS, a comprehensive software solution developed specifically for the business of an insurer.

"It allows them to deal with almost all of their processes within that solution and to adapt it, on the other hand, to their business specificities through the parametrisation and flexibility of the software solution," said Adcubum's Croatian affiliate director, noting that their goal in the Croatian capital is to increase additional human resources for further SYRIUS development.

"We're planning to form teams that will work on new software products in the application area called ''front end'', but also processing and analytics in the field of big data,'' Poljičak pointed out.

Just how did the Croatian capital manage to bypass the competition and be of such attraction to the Swiss company?

"They considered the prospects for the availability of IT professionals of high professionalism, foreign language knowledge, cultural similarities, and support from state institutions such as the Investment and Competitiveness Agency," Poljičak revealed.

"We want to use a very good ratio of expertise, professionalism, flexibility, and teamwork that candidates and potential employees have here in Croatia. We also want to provide our employees with work experience with colleagues and clients in Switzerland and Germany - as well as transfer part of our knowledge and our ways of working with colleagues in these countries,'' Bojan Poljičak concluded.

Adcubum's Chief Technology Officer Walter Meister and Swiss Ambassador to Croatia Emilia Georgieva were also at the opening of the Zagreb centre, pointing out that the Croatian branch was a result of the company's accelerated development due to an increased demand for services, expressing hope that this investment would strengthen Switzerland's status in the top ten foreign investors in the Republic of Croatia.

According to CNB/HNB (Croatian National Bank) data, direct Swiss investments in Croatia in 2016 amounted to a huge 6.2 million euro. In the first two quarters of this year, about 5.6 million of Swiss capital entered Croatia, and a total of about 42.4 million euro has been invested in the country since as far back as 1993.

Want to keep up with more news on business, investments and economy? Make sure to stay up to date with our business page.


Click here for the original article by Sergej Novosel Vuckovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

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