Croatia is a paradoxical country in many senses, and that is a sentence that has been written many times over the years. Paradoxes can be seen across all spectrums of society, and when it comes to the Croatian economy, the paradoxes are enough to make one scratch ones head.
You’ll hear one (or more) of any of these things in relation to the Croatian economy: There are no jobs. There are jobs but the pay isn’t enough. We can’t find the staff. We’re willing to give the staff good wages, food, accommodation and a decent amount of time off. We’ve got many jobs available but nobody wants to work. I can’t find a job and I’ll do anything… but not that (as Meatloaf might have said had he been searching for work in Croatia).
You get the point. Sadly it appears that this situation isn’t one that is about to remedy itself anytime soon.
As Ljubica Gataric/VL/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of November, 2018, migration can indeed go in both directions, but at the minute, Croatia’s labour force is taking advantage of the EU’s freedom of movement policy and heading abroad in search of better lives, better wages, more security and more opportunities, and only recently has the the import of workers from elsewhere to Croatia been discussed. But why would they come?
With the absence of young workers becoming an ever-increasing problem, domestic and foreign companies and institutions operating in the country are turning to the older population more and more to try to keep the Croatian economy afloat. The numbers are intractable and show that over the past ten years, Croatia has lost about 127,000 young people aged up to 29, corresponding to the population of an entire city, such as Rijeka.
Such a reduction in the number of young people has naturally seen the domestic labour market suffer, causing a dramatic shift in the age structure of employed workers. In ten years, which means long before Croatia joined the European Union, the number of employed persons in Croatia decreased by 122,419, measured by the number of insured persons registered in pension insurance, according to Vecernji list.
Most of this loss relates to the group of young workers aged up to 29 years, of whom there were 104,000 less employed at the end of 2017 than when compared to a decade ago, in 2007.
The remaining deficiency for the Croatian economy is in the next age group of workers aged between 30 and 34 years.
After the Croatian economy emerged from the recession, four years ago, the total number of insured persons increased by 95,000 to approximately 1.45 million. But, as Darko Orčić, an analyst at the Employment Service, recalls, the number of employees in the age group of 25 to 34 is still very much declining.
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