Croatia’s Construction Sector in Deep Crisis

Total Croatia News

The volume of construction work has declined 43 percent in 6 years.

Construction is in deep crisis and even though it is recovering slowly, it still lacks manpower, the education system is at odds with the needs of the labour market and the development is hindered by the illogical public procurement procedures and inequality in market competition, it was pointed out at the conference “Building Today and Tomorrow”, organized by the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK), reports on April 7, 2016.

From 2008 to 2014, the volume of construction work has dropped 43 percent, while the number of workers has fallen from 2009 to 2014 by 35,000 in legal entities and by 19,000 when it comes to self-employed craftsmen, said HGK president Luka Burilović.

Construction is the sector which is registering the slowest recovery, and it should be helped because it can be a major driver of the economy, he said. “At this point, the sector lacks 3,000 construction workers. This shortage is certainly a result of the mismatch between the education system and the labour market needs”, said Burilović. He emphasized that the solution to the problem is a dual system of education and added that Croatia needs a long-term demographic strategy. Without it, he added, there is no long-term economic recovery.

Mirjana Čagalj, HGK deputy president, agreed and said that one of the solutions that were suggested for the labour shortage issue is importing the labour force from abroad. According to her, the integration of the cadastre and land registry and the harmonization of laws and regulations is another important factor.

Dragutin Kamenski, owner of the Kamgrad construction company, said that the high-rise construction in Croatia needs all kinds of workers, and asked how was it possible that out of around 300,000 unemployed people registered at the Croatian Employment Service, 3,000 workers needed in construction cannot be found. Kamgrad has tried to find workers through the Croatian Employment Service, but it turned out that a great number of people were not interested because they had already found work in the grey market, Kamenski said.

He added the mechanisms were needed to ensure that people registered as unemployed can be employed in construction companies. Kamenski echoed the words of other speakers who said that the education system should follow the needs of the economy.


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