Pay Rising More Slowly in Croatia Than in Other Transition Countries

Lauren Simmonds

A comparison of wage developments in the ten most important industries across the Republic of Croatia over the last four years shows that wage growth in the education sector has unfortunately been among the lowest.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 16th of August, 2019, the payroll story in Croatia is only getting more interesting as the increasingly powerful Mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić, is seeking an immediate increase in teacher salaries of ten percent, and an additional seven percent per year.

That, according to Mayor Bandić, would send out a strong message that education is the future of Croatia. Salaries in the public sector have begun to increase steadily since back in 2017, after a stagnation of almost ten years, but a similar trend was also observed in the private sector, which is facing a large number of workers’ departures due to low salaries, Vecernji list reports.

This year, wage growth in Croatia has slowed to just two percent, averaging just a little under 6,500 kuna per month. In the last four years, the average wage in Croatian has grown by sixteen percent, with lower wages rising more due to a significant increase in the minimum wage, and better paid ones benefiting somewhat from certain tax policy alterations.

However, in general, wages in Croatia are growing more slowly than in other transition countries, but so are the overall economic developments. According to official statistics, in June 2019, education employees in Croatia received an average of 6,782 kuna, which is a system where seventy percent of employees in primary schools and more than eighty percent of employees in high schools and colleges hold a university degree, and according to some, those wages should therefore be higher.

As previously mentioned, a comparison of wage developments in the ten most important industries in Croatia over the past four years shows that wage growth in the education sector has sadly been among the lowest of all, rising by ten percent in four years, unlike the average wage in Croatia, which has somewhat more encouragingly increased by sixteen percent. Currently, salaries in education are higher than the average salary, but only by a mere five percent. The dilemma is not whether or not highly educated professors or doctors should receive higher wages, as that goes without saying, but the question is rather – how can we get there?

The answer might also include a significant reduction in public sector employment, especially in education where employment is booming even though schools across Croatia are seeing significantly fewer students enroll.

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