Potential Croatian Workers ARE Available, But Not for Minimum Wage…

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the search for Croatian workers in tourism for the next summer season has never started earlier than now – all tourist companies typically use the low season for active searches not only for seasonal workers but also for a permanent workforce that can expect better conditions than in they had over the last two years.

Hotels offer slightly higher salaries, and are looking for seasons which span a more generous period of 4 to 7 months, which suggests that they are counting on a decent tourist season in summer 2022.

However, their task is not easy, with the continuation of the trend of migration of Croatian workers to the west, the pool of workers from Serbia and Macedonia has been significantly reduced, whose work in Germany and Austria has also been much more simplified since this year.

At the same time, this year the trend of emigration of German and Austrian workers to Switzerland, where higher salaries are offered, has intensified. This is just a part of the insight into the lively labour market revealed by Natasa Kacar, the director of the employment agency Gate2Solutions and the Job in Tourism portal, one of the leading platforms that connects supply and demand for workers here in Croatia and across Europe.

“At this time of year, we mostly dealt with the winter season at ski resorts, and this is a really unusually active autumn for Croatian employers. It is completely different than last year, when it was not known when and how the season would start, and the search for Croatian workers started practically with the very arrival of the season, and as such, there was chaos.

We’re now noticing a lot more optimism from employers for next year, but also fears that they will be left without Croatian workers again. At the same time, there are more Croatian workers out there willing to do a goo job than it seems, but they can no longer allow themselves to be exploited and that is the basic thing that employers must keep in mind,” points out Kacar.

“Posao u turizmu/Jobs in tourism” has been uniting a dozen local and foreign employment agencies as a specialised portal and mediation agency for six years now, and in addition to Croatia they are present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria through their agents and branches. They’re also active in Germany, Malta, Ukraine, India and even in Dubai.

The founder of the portal is Tin Tomljanovic, an award-winning Croatian bartender. The combined base and channels through which they communicate the needs of workers ensure that they quickly find workers for their partners. They also offer the possibility of importing workers from other EU member states and from third countries, from Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, but also Ukraine, the Philippines and Thailand.

They mediate not only in the employment of seasonal workers, but also in permanent employment for an indefinite period. Natasa Kacar also claims that they are contacted by Croatian emigrants who would like return home, but having experienced life (and salaries) abroad, they have their own conditions.

“Those who emigrated to work in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, cruise workers… they all clear employment conditions there, from wages higher than there, to accommodation and food, and they of course got used to one or two days off per week. With the exception of mostly large serious companies, in Croatia there is generally no guarantee of a salary, which is usually the minimum wage, and the rest is paid in hand. There are often no days off, especially during the height of the summer season, and work is done without a break for 12-14 hours when there are many people around. In Switzerland, work is carried out for 9 hours with a break of 50 minutes, which must be used because otherwise employers risk fines, if they work in hotels, then they’re free for two days a week every week.

Croatian workers now know exactly where and what they’re going for. When I tell my employer that I don’t have a worker who will work without a break and a day off, restaurant owners can say that the nature of the job is such that it is done without a break. Maybe it can be like that for the owners, bur the workers no longer agree to that, especially the younger ones, and employers have to be ready for that,” says Kacar.

Besides, salaries outside of Croatia’s borders are typically much more attractive. A recently announced tender published on the portal is one which is looking for chefs, bartenders and waiters for the winter season over in Switzerland, for seasonal jobs with the possibility of permanent employment. Salaries range from 3,900 to 4,400 euros gross (minus 13-20 percent to the net amount), accommodation and meals are provided at an additional cost, as employers co-finance the rental of all apartments.

In Austria, a head waiter typically receives about 1,900 euros net, in Croatia they work just as hard only to take home somewhere between 7,000 and 9,000 kuna, while maids work a maximum of 8 hours a day in the sweltering Croatian summer heat with just one day off.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.


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