Construction Industry in Crisis: There Are Not Enough Workers

Total Croatia News

After a long period with not enough work, a different kind of problem hits Croatia’s construction industry.

“Situation is improving, there are more and more building projects, but workers are the problem now. I have just turned down a contract worth 100,000 euros because there is no one who could do it”, says an entrepreneur from Varaždin with 30 years of experience in the construction industry. He is trying to find five workers for full-time jobs, for assignments in Varaždin, Osijek, Rijeka and Zagreb, reports Večernji List on August 18, 2016.

“I have been contacted by a dozen people who would like to run the construction site, but I need bricklayers, regular construction workers. People like to write documents, but no one wants to get their hands dirty”, says the entrepreneur.

In June this year, 636 building permits were issued in Croatia, which is 31.4 percent more than in the same month last year. According to data recently published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, in the first six months the number of building permits increased by 22.8 percent. The value of construction works for which the licenses were issued in June was estimated at 1.6 billion kuna, and for the first six months of the year the value is estimated at 8.7 billion kuna.

“The numbers indicate that the decline has slowed down, but not necessarily that it has been stopped. Purchasing power of citizens is still small and they are unsure whether to take long-term loans”, says Zlatko Sirovec, the president of the Construction Industry Association at the Croatian Chamber of Economy. “The government could help by financing large projects in the infrastructure and energy sectors, because without investments there are no major jobs for construction industry. We already have a big problem with the outflow of workers to Western European countries, where wages and working conditions are better”, he warns.

Other entrepreneurs agree with the assessment that the construction industry, which has lost 50,000 jobs in seven years, is recovering, but they also highlight the problem of labour shortage, particularly with carpenters, bricklayers and plasterers.

“We who have survived have more work, but we have no workers. People have left the country. The only thing we can do is to accept those projects which we can implement with the existing number of workers. Unfortunately, we have to refuse some assignments”, says Josip Car, the owner of Ninex company from Varaždin. He believes that the lack of workers can be solved with changes in education system, as well as with foreign workers. Therefore, the state should increase the quota for foreign workers allowed to work at construction sites in Croatia.


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