Companies Having to Offer More Benefits to Find Willing Workers

Total Croatia News

In a country with 200,000 unemployed persons, some companies have to launch promotional campaigns to find new employees.

After an unsuccessful search for employees for its fish processing factory Mirna through labor agencies and the Croatian Employment Service, Podravka has decided to launch a wide-ranging marketing campaign in the media to look for new employees. In the country with more than 195,000 unemployed people and only 1.5 million people who work, there is more and more news about companies being unable to find workers, reports Večernji List on January 28, 2018.

Podravka is looking for 120 employees to work as process workers, i.e., as workers in the production, processing, and packaging of fish. They will be employed in Rovinj, where the employer will provide them with accommodation and food, transportation to Rovinj and even daily commute from the housing facility to the factory. Unofficially, the base salaries will range from 3,500 to 4,000 kuna per month, with the possibility of good bonuses, and the job is offered for one year.

However, it is not really strange that in Istria, which lives mostly from tourism, it is difficult to find workers for factories. Istria County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Croatia, Last year, during the peak tourist season, in the whole of Istria there were only 2,702 unemployed persons.

Podravka says that they have decided on the marketing campaign after months of searching for workers, but are aware that this initiative will likely become permanent given that the problem of the lack of workers interested in working at Mirna will not be solved in the short term. They are even thinking about importing workers from abroad. In the meantime, they hope that the ad will attract workers from other parts of Croatia who, apart from the salary and benefits, might be tempted by the possibility of living in a beautiful Istrian town.

With the changes in tax rules in 2018, Podravka and all employers will be able to use tax breaks for paying for accommodation and food for employees as a legitimate business expense, i.e., that will reduce the tax base which will mitigate the cost for employers. However, such small concessions to employers are not enough in the period when many wonder whether the current expansions of the economy could be stopped due to the chronic shortage of labor. Employers are increasingly warning that they are unable to accept new jobs because of the lack of workers.

On the other hand, unions argue that the situation would be different if salaries were higher, but the Croatian products would then lose their competitiveness. Wages are low because the products must have the similar price as the competition, which is mostly made up of multinational companies. They gain part of their competitiveness by economies of scale, and also by moving factories to low-cost regions of the world.

The state could do most to solve the problem by lowering the tax burden and expanding the tax base, including to the gray economy. Croatia is currently among the countries with the highest tax burden, which leads to a paradoxical situation in which each worker is expensive for the employer, but at the same time receive a low net salary.

It seems that, in the future, more and more companies will have to offer additional benefits if they want to find new employees interested in working for them.

Translated from Večernji List.


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