Medjimurje County Wages No Longer Lowest in Croatia

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the last place in terms of salaries at the county level is no longer held by Medjimurje County and has now been taken by Virovitica-Podravina County, where the average salary is 300 kuna less, and amounts to 5261 kuna, writes Jutarnji list.

Bjelovar-Bilogora County is only slightly better off with an average salary of 5,364 kuna. In those two counties, wages grew by about ten percent in three years. Although these are still regions where wages are typically low, meaning well below the Croatian average, the fact remains that they have grown at different rates. The main reason for this, according to Danijel Nestic from the Institute of Economics, is of a legal-regulatory nature.

The minimum wage was increased by 20 percent in that period, in the gross amount from 3,120 kuna back in 2016 to 3,750 kuna in 2019, reports Jutarnji.

As the northern Croatian counties, primarily Medjimurje County and Varazdin County, boasted the largest number of employees in low-paid sectors in the country (textiles, clothing, footwear, leather, plastics, furniture), the increase in the minimum wage went in their favour most of all. According to Danijel Nestic, about 40 percent of employees in those two counties worked in low-paid sectors, while their share in the total number of employees in Virovitica-Podravina and Bjelovar-Bilogora counties, for example, stands at about 25 percent.

In addition to the above, as Danijel Nestic added, the unemployment rate is lower in the north of Croatia.

While in the north of Croatia, low-paid jobs predominate, in the Adriatic counties catering, hospitality and trade are of greater importance due to tourism, while in Zagreb, the public sector continues to dominate.

Employees in Zagreb have the highest average salary in Croatia, standing at 7,468 kuna, which means that it is 42 percent higher than the lowest salary in Virovitica-Podravina County.

The largest number of employees in Zagreb work in public administration, education and healthcare, about 96,000 of them, followed by trade with about 73,000 people, followed by manufacturing (41,623), information and communications (28,242) and construction (24,488).

In its latest analysis of wages in counties, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) states that there is a significant difference in their amount by region, which entails differences in living standards in some areas, and to some extent results in pressure to dynamise both internal and external migration.

A more pronounced equalisation of wage levels by region, however, “is difficult to expect without changes in the structure of the economies of the regions towards higher value-added activities and more innovative and technologically advanced production.” As they point out from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, this requires stronger investment activity.

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