Croatian Tourist Industry Still Facing Labour Shortage

Total Croatia News

How to solve the problem of shortage of workers in the tourism sector?

The deficit of workers in tourism, but also in other industries, is a challenge Croatia has been facing in recent years, especially since joining the European Union when a large number of people went to work in other EU countries, reports Novi List on 30 July 2017.

The Croatian tourism industry employs, directly or indirectly, about 150,000 people, but currently there is a shortage of labour, says Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli. Trade unions claim that Croatia’s tourism sector needs at least 3,000 more workers. The problem has particularly escalated during this tourist season. Ads and social networks are full of tourism employers desperately seeking chefs, waiters and support staff. All this has given rise to a new business activity – agencies for employment in the tourism sector, which help employers find workers.

Many potential workers have left Croatia in search for better wages and better working conditions, while other have stayed in Croatia, but are not satisfied with wages. On the other hand, trade unions also warn about poor work conditions for employees in tourism in Croatia.

According to the data of the Croatian Employment Service, at the moment there are about 1,200 unemployed persons available for seasonal jobs, and there are also almost 800 students who have just finished high school in tourism professions.

“This problem demands a comprehensive, systemic and long-term solution. This is a matter of responsibility of the whole system. It is important to point out that the labour issue in tourism is not a problem facing only Croatia, but a chronic problem of many countries in the wider region – Hungary, Austria, Germany, and many others. Also, Croatian tourism is growing exponentially, and that growth is accompanied by additional labour needs. There are investments planned for this year worth more than 800 million euros, and there are more than 40 hotels in final phases of construction. We need more maids, cleaners, waiters and chefs, but also more tourism managers,” says Minister Cappelli.

Dragan Magaš of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management believes that the shortage of workers has been caused by the liberalisation of movement and high demand for workers. “We have accepted the fact that the hotel industry is a capital intensive activity, but not that it is at the same time a labour intensive activity. How else to explain today’s situation when there are significant investments in the tourism and hotel industry, but there is not enough staff to work there,” says Magaš.

Renata Tomljenović, a senior associate at the Institute for Tourism, says that the labour force is a problem due to insufficient skills and competencies of students who complete three-year and four-year high schools. “Large employers introduce measures to adapt to the given circumstances, for example, through safer forms of employment, better accommodation for workers, improved working conditions and higher salaries, but majority of businesses in the tourism sector are small entrepreneurs, who either lack resources or knowledge or opportunity to adapt in a timely manner,” says Tomljenović.

Translated from Novi List.


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