Croatia: Pressure to improve working conditions and salaries is growing

Even though Croatia became full member of EU already few years ago, it took some time for people to become more open to the idea to find a job from other European countries. But what we see happening now is that people are more open minded and they are willing to move abroad,  especially those who have no family or other obligations. People usually move because of various opportunities and better working and living conditions that are hard to expect in Croatia because of high taxes and high costs of living.  

People in Croatia are also more willing to change a job more often. It has to do with salary, but also with opportunities to develop themselves and to get better working conditions. People want to improve their skills, work on new projects and are attracted by innovative companies that offer work with new technologies. On the other hand, there are also people that look for bigger salary and better working conditions compared to their current position. This is typical for people working in industries such as tourism.  

In 2016 most posted job titles were: waiter, salesman, chef, programmer, driver. We expect the same trends continue also in 2017.  Most important skills in 2017 will be ability to speak foreign languages and basic computer skills. For example tourism, that employes today 100 000 people, will employ 150 000 people in the coming years. And there is already now a lack of waiters, chefs, etc. This means Croatia will need more foreign workers, especially during the touristic season. Foreign workers are also needed in IT and healthcare sectors.  If Croatia wants to compete for skilled labor force, Croatian companies must improve their working conditions including salaries.  

These changes that are happening in Croatia are not trouble per se, but rather usual trends of developing society. However, lack of adequate (political and economic) measures can increase problems to the point where it will be difficult to find good solutions that don’t involve significant cultural and mindset changes. That is why we strongly support short-term measures like liberalization of Croatian labor market and increase of quotes for foreign workers, and long-term measures like reform of educational system.

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