Monday, 8 April 2019

Sestrunj Shop Job Applied for From Ireland, Germany, America...

We recently reported on an unusual job offer on the island of Sestrunj in the Zadar archipelago. What might appear to many to be a simple job working in a shop has attracted a rather large amount of attention, from Croatia, Europe, and even beyond.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of April, 2019, there haven't been any schools on the island of Sestrunj for a long time now, and on the island itself, there are only twenty permanent residents.

While Croats tend to move to Ireland in their droves for work opportunities, higher salaries and more job security, Sestrunj, a small island in the Zadar archipelago, has been attracting attention from all sides since the posting of a job offer in a shop on the island, with would-be employees making contact from Ireland, Germany, and even all the way from America, as RTL reports.

Sestrunj - a little island close to Zadar, hasn't even had a shop for four months, and the only the place where you can go and have a drink is at some sort of pensioner's association on the island.

Since Sestrunj has been without a shop for the last four months, supplying the island naturally poses a big problem.

Eventually, the powers that be decided that Sestrunj's store needed to make a return to the island and contacted some commercial chains, and as the first condition for the job, they needed a person who would be willing to move to the island and live there. The interest in the small shop was quite surprising, and so far as many as forty job applications from around the world have arrived on Sestrunj's quiet shores.

"There were mostly people from Slavonia, and there were also people from the United States, Germany, Canada, a gentleman from Ireland called, he was willing to come back to the area," said Nenad Šužberić from Sestrunj.

"They're sick of the crowds in the city, they're probably expecting to come and have some peace on the island and all that," said Sestrunj resident Berislav Fatović.

The shop will need to be done up, but the apartment for the person who will work there is ready.

"It's nice to live here because it's quiet and it's different way of life than in Zadar, in town, but we're missing this shop because you need to think about the most basic necessities in advance, to make sure you've everything you need to have in the house," admitted Zdravka Dilber.

With the re-opening of Sestrunj's shop, everything would be much easier for the island's residents.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Chinese Building Car Factory in Dalmatia, Jobs for 500 People

Chinese-Croatian relations grow ever closer as the Chinese expand their business empire in Dalmatia, not merely stopping at Pelješac bridge. The Chinese are now setting their sights on a vehicle factory in southern Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 7th of April, 2019, an army of unemployed people, almost three thousand of them in total who are registered at the employment centres in Metković and Ploče in the Neretva region, received the news with understandably huge enthusiasm.

The Chinese will re-launch the Neretva valley, Slobodna Dalmacija writes, breathing life back into a part of Dalmatia that really needs it. Apart from the fact that they are already working on the aforementioned construction of the much anticipated Pelješac Bridge, the Chinese will soon embark on yet another major project in Croatia - a factory for electric cars and scooters in the Nova sela business district, which has so far been being developed in the Neretva valley's Kula Norinska area, but at a very slow pace.

This slow page is set to change a lot when the Green Tech Group, registered as a company in Zadar by Karl Soong along with Croatian entrepreneurs Mladen and Anthony Ninčević, starts with the construction of electric vehicles intended for the markets of Central and Eastern Europe down in Nova sela.

There are many unemployed people living in and around the Neretva valley, which is close enough yet just a bit too far away from potential employment in tourist areas like Dubrovnik. This news naturally brought a smile to the faces of many seeking steady work as in Kula Norinska, work began on the infrastructure in the future business zone in Nova sela, thus making this potentially enormous capital project start right there on ground in Dalmatia.

Twenty people would be employed to start things up at Dalmatia's brand new factory. However, when investment in the production of electric scooters, automobiles and batteries begins to add up and things gain some motion, up to 500 workers will be able to gain employment in various positions in the electric vehicle production facilities.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more on China-Croatia relations, business in Croatia, the investment climate and working in Croatia, and much more.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

EY Croatia President Discusses Digitisation, Croatian Economic Situation

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of March, 2019, the president of the board of EY Croatia talks about the state of the country, the challenges and perspectives of the Croatian economy, and the need to promote successful stories, which they push forward through the Entrepreneur of the Year event.

Even though it has nominally existed for thirty years in the market economy, it's still necessary to properly promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs in the Republic of Croatia, and for this reason, the global consultancy company Ernst & Young (in Croatia, EYCroatia) is organising, for the fifth time in Croatia, the Entrepreneur of the Year project.

Why it's still necessary to promote entrepreneurship and what the general situation is with the prospects of the Croatian economy was discussed by Berislav Horvat, the president of the board of EY Croatia.

All analyses of the Croatian market show that the lack of workforce is the main challenge of Croatia's economic development. Do you see this as a short-term challenge that will, more or less, be resolved relatively quickly, or as a factor that will have more and more of an impact on the structure and development of the Croatian economy?

The labour shortage is definitely one of the major challenges facing the Croatian economy. The problem is no longer financing and a lack of capital, but just a lack of a workforce entirely. This problem will not be resolved that quickly and will represent a limiting factor for further business growth.

Although entrepreneurs and companies operating in Croatia mostly do have growth plans, the lack of a workforce could be a key obstacle. This applies to companies in various industries, from tourism and hospitality, construction and industrial production, to the IT sector.

Have other countries in ''New Europe'' encountered such challenges, and how did they solve them, or are Croatian specifics at play here, too?

Croatia isn't an exception here. Other European countries have been met with the same problems, where people were emigrating, but with growth and development, the demand for labour increased, so wages rose, which led to people returning. For us, the most important thing is to create a stable business environment that will enable entrepreneurs and companies to invest because that's a prerequisite for further employment.

On the side of the state, it's crucial to further reduce income tax and abolish the highest tax rate. This would increase the net salaries of employees, Croatia would become more attractive, and those who left Croatia would have a reason to return to it. I believe that wage growth in Croatia is a key factor that will affect the return of some of the people who have left.

New technologies, the so-called 4.0 industry, is increasingly affecting the global economy. Where is Croatia there?

We've noticed that in Croatia, companies are increasingly investing in digitisation. We, with a lot of companies, are working on a digital strategy to improve business or cost savings and this is definitely the direction in which companies need to develop. We hope that we'll soon be able to see the results of the announced state-level measures related to the digitisation of public administration, for example, the digitisation of the process of opening up companies.

How did 4.0 reflect on the work and client requests in consulting companies such as yours?

Clients are quite interested in what's going on abroad and how outsourcing companies are dealing with digitisation and the challenges it brings. They're looking for examples and the best practices. We adapted to the market situation by bringing an entire digital team to us last year. Now we can respond to market demands and provide a more rounded service.

In addition to advice, we can offer the implementation of complete digital solutions. This means that in addition to the tips of digitising today, we also provide a service for designing and programming web pages and other digital content. Clients are no longer just looking for advice, but a full service, which allows us to be innovative.

EY is organising the fifth EY Entrepreneur of the Year project. How has this program influenced the perception of entrepreneurship in Croatia and what benefits are there for participants, especially for the winners?

A lot has changed in these five years since we started the program. Before that, there wasn't much talk about entrepreneurship, startups and other interesting topics [we see] today. I believe that by putting out good entrepreneurial stories to the public, we've contributed to this shift in focus and helped our entrepreneurs become more socially accepted.

By participating in the program, entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to present themselves, their businesses and their successes, while the winner of each year is taken to Monaco in June to the world selection of EY Entrepreneurs of the Year. In those five days of various events, the entrepreneurs can connect and exchange experiences and gain a unique opportunity to present themselves to the whole world.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

 

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

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

To Work or Not to Work: Almost Half of Croatia Economically Inactive?

As Novac/Sanja Stapic/Slobodna Dalmacija writes on the 27th of March, 2019, why exactly are the powers that be in Croatia constantly talking about importing workers from around the world if they can be found among students and retired people already here? This is a valid question that is increasingly being put forward by Croatian employers, and it could bring results. A new law has put the spring back in the step of many, and riled others, as it allows retirees to be employed for four hours a day, and still retain all of their rights to their retirement and pensions.

It was in this exact manner that Spar Croatia launched an employment program for retired individuals which lasts for four hours, allowing them continued full access to their retirement benefits and offer a flexible employment schedule. Konzum followed the same path not long after, and this giant company is announcing in the media that they're on the lookout for new people, turning to students and also to retired people to whom they're offering part-time jobs, with pleasant and flexible working hours as extra bait.

With regard to the typical pension payout per month, and also given the fact that there are a great many people among the population who haven't yet ''served'' their full working lives and are perfectly healthy and capable of doing so, the average pension stands at 3,665 kuna, so it comes as no real surprise that more than 5,200 retirees are currently working part-time jobs. There will likely be even more joining them as time goes on.

Croatia boasts (alright, maybe that isn't the right word here) a large portion of the populace who don't work, haven't actually registered themselves as unemployed, aren't actually looking for work, and are between the ages of 16 to 64. At the end of September last year, according to a survey taken by the State Bureau of Statistics, an extremely concerning figure of 48.4 percent of Croatia's working-age population was economically inactive. This means that there are more economically inactive people in a normal state of health and who are perfectly capable of working than there are employed persons in Croatia. Of course, those working ''on the black'' or accepting cash in hand jobs, of which there are a great many, are more difficult to account for in this instance.

The survey carried out by the State Bureau of Statistics showed that out of all of the economically inactive persons in the country, 121,000 of those inactive people do want to work, but they aren't actively seeking employment, while 1.57 million don't want to work because of school, their age, illness and various other similar reasons. These other reasons may also include the desire to stay home to bring up their kids, but a large number do earn a living of some sort owing to the so-called grey economy.

For a country like the Republic of Croatia, in which 4.1 million people were registered as living according to the estimates of domestic statistics, 1.7 million inactive people is a very large number of people living their lives almost entirely outside the world of work, at least officially.

Economist Dr. Damir Novotny points out that Croatia currently doesn't have enough of a workforce in any given sector, which in one part is the result of the entirely wrong direction of the country's social policy and in another part, owing to the opening up of the European labour market for Croatian citizens.

''There is clear research on the fact that those who are able to work are excluded from labour market. It's one of the major problems and mistakes of [Croatian] governments over the past 10 to 15 years. We have a problem with the grey economy, we know it's big and many who are formally [registered as] unemployed aren't actually unemployed in reality. Thirdly, but no less significant, is the opening up of the labour market to the part of the working-active population who have a middle to high level of education, who are extremely easily integrated into the European labour market. We have these complex variables in the function of reducing working-active citizens, and on the other hand we don't have enough immigration policies,'' explained Dr. Novotny for Slobodna Dalmacija.

Employers, encouraged by the fact that today retirees can be hired as part-time workers, have decided to try to solve their problems in such a manner. Workers need them, and last year's quota for the import of foreign workers amounted to over 30,000 work permits, and this year that number could be considerably higher, and we already know that the tourism sector, otherwise Croatia's strongest sector, will be missing about 15,000 skilled workers.

The statistics show that the problem will become even worse as time goes on.

Because of the decline in Croatia's overall population and extremely adverse demographic trends, the number of working-age population is continuing to decrease, and back in September last year, there were just 3.5 million working people in the country, which is 110,000 less people than there were back at the beginning of 2010. During that period, the number of economically active people fell by 102,000 people to 1.82 million, the number of those registered as unemployed was reduced by 19,000 to 1.69 million, and so the negative trend continued.

Economists warn that Croatia will need a workforce, it also needs to work hard to activate the inactive population, the long-term unemployed, younger retirees and even people with certain disabilities. Some experts, such as Dr. Danijela Nestić and Ivo Tomić from the Zagreb Institute of Economics, have calculated that Croatia can increase its overall employment levels in only a relatively small manner, even it it managed to employ all the unemployed people and part of the economically inactive people who don't work for family reasons or because they're discouraged in their job searches.

Discouragingly, Croatia is the European ''champion'' with the most retired people who are still of working age, with the most people saying that they're somehow incapable, or too sick to work.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Sanja Stapic for Slobodna Dalmacija

Monday, 25 March 2019

Economic Boost for Eastern Croatia as Pevec Plans Store in Vukovar

An economic boost is on its way to Eastern Croatia, more specifically to Vukovar this autumn with the opening of a brand new Pevec sales centre, bringing with it employment opportunities and much more to this otherwise greatly overlooked city.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of March, 2019, Pevec has signed a contract for the construction of a sales centre in Vukovar with a local company from Slavonski Brod, Projektgradnja, which is otherwise a member of the Fortenova Group. The new sales centre will cover an area of ​​almost 5,000 m2. On the first floor, the office space that will be used by the company is set to be done up, Pevec's logistics and potential other tenants will make use of the revamped space.

"We have signed a contract with the Croatian company Projektgradnja, with which we're getting another modernly equipped and well-organised sales centre, employees will get high quality working conditions, and our customers a nice location for good and always competitive purchases. The opening of the new Vukovar sales centre is scheduled for October the 1st, 2019, and Vukovar will get fifty new jobs,'' Krešimir Bubalo of Pevec's management board, said.

Samofino Café will also open its doors within the new Vukovar centre. In the second stage of construction, additional business premises are planned and the retail center Pevec is expanded to a retail park with other retailers and brands.

"It's my great pleasure that Pevec, as the first Croatian trading chain, is investing in the city of Vukovar. We're building two sales centres in Slavonia, with which we want to try to encourage our people to stay here. By increasing the net minimum wage to 5,000 kuna in our stores, for our merchants, warehouse workers and our drivers, we're going to be giving our employees jubilee awards, systematic examinations, Christmas bonuses, child allowance and support for newborns, we'd like to show our employees that we care and that through working for Pevec, they can realise their dreams in Croatia,'' stated the president of Pevec's management board, Jurica Lovrinčević.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Working in Croatia: Exploiting the Unpaid Worker

February 19, 2019 - As Croatian media reports on the 45,000 (actually much more) euro that tourist institutions paid for a tourism summit which will not happen, a look at some of the other victims, and a sadly familiar story of working in Croatia. 

A few years ago I messaged one of my TCN writers asking if it would be a problem if I paid her about 10 days late, as I was waiting for over 200,000 kuna from suppliers and it would be a real struggle to get her paid on time if the money did not come in. She was absolutely fine to wait, she said, as long as I could guarantee payment in 10 days. She understood how things work in Croatia. Eight days later, some promised money arrived and she was paid. I informed her with an apology once more. Her reply has stayed with me since:

"Don't worry. Even 8 days late, you are by far the quickest person ever to pay me."

This is a story, and it is a non-story, as there will be nothing new to anyone who deals with the daily grind in The Beautiful Croatia. But perhaps it will be to those outside the culture and daily way of life here, who are seeking a little more understanding about why Croatia's youth is emigrating. It is inspired by the story which hit the Croatian media of how Croatian tourism institutions paid 45,000 euro to a British couple who were organising 'Central Europe's largest trade travel event.'

An event which has totally disappeared, along with the money.

But is it not just event exhibitors who have lost money. So too have various other suppliers, as well as the unpaid employees. 

And it is also not just 45,000 euro which has disappeared to a company registered in Spain just a year ago, and with a start-up capital of just 3,000 euro. The figure of 45,000 euro relates only to the Zagreb Tourist Board and Croatian National Tourist Board. It does not include any of the other exhibitors who were planning on taking part in the event. According to various sources working on the project, these included the national tourist boards of Slovenia, Bosnia and Hercegovina and Macedonia. The Kvarner region was also allegedly committed, seeing it as a good platform to showcase Rijeka as the European Capital of Culture. The Dubrovnik County Tourist Board was also keen. And let's now forget the private companies who also planned to take part. I know of one agency in Dalmatia, for example, which handed over 5,000 euro alone.  

But there were others who are also out of pocket, and who can less afford to absorb the costs - the employees. It is a tale so familiar in Croatia, and yet one which is rarely told. It is, in my opinion, one of the biggest issues in this country, and one of the reasons why a lot of people are leaving - the inability to get paid. 

One of the aspects of the story of the failed event in the Croatian media focused on how British organiser Andy Buchanan hired a taxi driver to do sales. As always in the Croatian media, there is usually something more to the story, and I managed to track down the guy yesterday and we had a nice chat on the phone. And so begins the story... I will call him Ivan. 

Ivan told me that he was driving for Uber, and they got chatting on the long drive to where he was going. Ivan had spent years in sales and that piqued Buchanan's interest. They kept talking and met 10 days later, and Ivan agreed to work for Buchanan. 

Ivan says that Buchanan explained he was in the process of setting up the Croatian company so that he could pay expenses and salaries, and it would take a couple of weeks to sort out. And so Ivan went off on his first sales trip, 35 meetings in 5 days, covering 2,000km in his own car and at his own expense - Zadar County, Sibenik County, Lika and Karlovac County. 

And he got some sales. The company formation was taking a little longer than usual. This is Croatia, after all. 

He moved to telesales, contacting potential customers in Albania, Macedonia and Serbia. 

And he got some sales. 

And then one day, he says, Buchanan's wife and co-organiser came to the office and took his laptop and project documents and told Ivan he was no longer required, but that he would be paid. That was 8 months ago. 

He has not been paid. 

The rent of the office has not been paid. 

The Croatian company was never formed. 

The registered company in Spain which was supposed to organise the event was formed a year ago, has a startup capital of 3,000 euro and nothing else. 

Ivan is about 2,000 euro out of pocket. money he will almost certainly never see. The organisers are uncontactable, the website down and the mobiles no longer in use. 

His story is both a sad extra to this failed event, but also so depressingly familiar to those working in The Beautiful Croatia. 

While things are far from perfect anywhere in the world, I was really shocked when I found out how widespread the practice of delayed payment is in Croatia. People can go months without being paid. And many do, and there is little they can do about it. They continue to come to work in the hope they will get paid, somehow scrambling things together to keep the family going until they do. 

One of the most nerve-wracking times for a Croatian worker is the end of the first month of a new job. The job is great, new colleagues are fun... but will I get paid? Sadly, not so many do get paid on time, if at all. And for those who do, a huge relief and a glimmer of hope - perhaps they have found a reliable employer in Croatia after all. 

The culture of late or non-payment extends far beyond the world of employment, of course. Agrokor was the master of delayed payment to its suppliers - if you are big enough, pay when you want. A lot of small businesses could not stand the wait. The effect of this affects bona fide businesses who pay their staff on time. Cashflow is king, and if the cash is not coming in... 

Like probably the majority of Croatian businesses, I have been late with paying writers on occasion. Not through wilful intention but through non-payment by suppliers despite signed contracts. I remember a couple of years ago chasing a (for me) big payment for months from a large tourism institution in Croatia. No reply to my emails or phone calls for months. I was scratching around to keep things going, and then 4 months after it was due, 75,000 kuna miraculously appeared in the business account. 

As if it was not hard enough to do business in this beautiful land... 

The other aspect of this non-payment is something that fascinates me about the culture here. When someone owes you a salary or an invoice, they tend to avoid you. After a time, you are the problem for daring to ask for what is yours, and after quite a lot more time, the situation between you and your non-payer returns to how it was. Minus the payment, which is converted to an uncomfortable memory of the past. I have seen it a hundred times. 

My Croatian friends are remarkably philosophical about the realities of working in Croatia. Most have a story of non-payment, and it is something that they have come to accept, for they are powerless to do anything about it. A little like this failed CETS Summit in Zagreb, where the initial 45,000 euro will prove to be just a drop in the ocean, with a company with a start-up capital of 3,000 euro, there is little chance of being compensated. 

And so the search for another job begins in this difficult job climate, and the hope that perhaps the new employer will pay this time. 

Or the other alternative of course - emigration to Ireland and beyond. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Croatia's Biggest Employers and Entrepreneurs in Tourism and Trade

Most of Croatia's biggest entrepreneurs are located on the northern Adriatic islands, and Croatia's biggest employers are still in the tourism and trade industries.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 6th of February, 2019, according to the analysis of the Financial Agency (FINA), which included details on entrepreneurs operating in the Republic of Croatia, there are 4,322 of them across 51 cities and municipalities in total who work as classified entrepreneurs, and in 2017, the largest number of entrepreneurs were in the field of providing accommodation and food preparation and serving - 903 of them. This tourism sector has now achieved its highest total revenue (almost 2.7 billion kuna), which is 25.6 percent of total income of island entrepreneurs.

Following those in tourism are entrepreneurs in the field of wholesale and retail trade - 656 of them. 2.2 billion kuna or 21.3 percent of total revenues and entrepreneurs are in this field. Construction is ranked third with 472 entrepreneurs and 1.4 billion kuna in revenues, which is 13.7 percent of total income of entrepreneurs from island areas.

In the case of tourism entrepreneurs, these were the highest in terms of the number of employees, with 6,585 employees or 30.6 percent of the total number of employees in all activities. This group of entrepreneurs also earned the highest revenues, and among them, according to the criterion of total revenues, the best are the hotel and tourism companies from Mali Lošinj, Hvar and Rab, or Jadranka hotels, Sunčani Hvar, and Imperial.

When looking at the ''size'' of these entrepreneurs, the largest number of micro entrepreneurs with 92 percent of the share in the total number of entrepreneurs are registered in the observed island areas. In addition, the same group have the largest share in profits, 42.7 percent, and employ the largest number of workers, making up a significant 33.8 percent of the total number of employed people in island towns and municipalities.

There are nine big companies based on islands in the Republic of Croatia, one in the area of ​​trade, Trgovina Krk from Malinska on Krk, one in the field of construction, GP Krk from Krk, one in the processing industry, Sardina from Brač and one in the area of ​​passenger transport, Autotrans from the island of Cres, while the remaining six are in the area of the ​​provision of accommodation and food preparation and service.

Make sure to stay up to date with Croatia's economic, business and investment climate by following our dedicated business page.

 

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

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Croats at Top of EU for Length of Working Week

Croatia's long working week makes the top of the EU's list.

Monday, 28 November 2016

The Worst in the EU, One in Three Croats Work on Sundays

Employees in the service sector in Croatia, most of whom are women, work three weeks without interruption and without a free Sunday.

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