Despite high level of unemployment, employers say they cannot find people to fill some open positions.
Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) asked the Ministry of Labour and Pension System and the government to reach an agreement with social partners on the number of work permits for foreign workers to be granted in 2017, reports Index.hr on October 27, 2016.
“Any delay in making this decision would have a direct negative impact on the Croatian economy, because in addition to all existing problems, it would limit its growth potential. Already this year, many employers were faced with the problem of finding employees which prevented them from implementing certain projects”, announced HUP.
Although the number of unemployed persons in Croatia is large, employers cannot find enough workers with required skills and qualifications on the labour market. The problem has affected a number of different sectors – construction, shipbuilding, tourism, transport, IT… The situation in which on the one hand there is a great number of unemployed persons, and on the other hand employers cannot find workers is not just a Croatian problem. The same problem exists in the entire European Union, where in spite of 21.5 million unemployed, 40 percent of employers say that cannot find adequate workers.
“It is clear that we have a structural problem that we have to start solving as quickly as possible, but it is also clear that we will not be able to solve it overnight. Due to lack of manpower, companies have not been able to agree to new business deals and develop operations, which ultimately has negative consequences for the overall economy. The only quick solution available would be to increase the number of foreign workers. Therefore, we ask the government to urgently address the issue so that in 2017 we would not have the same and even greater problem than this year”, said the CEO of HUP Davor Majetić.
According to HUP’s survey of its members, companies in Croatia currently have 5,099 open positions for which they cannot find appropriate workers. The biggest problem at the moment is in the shipbuilding industry which needs 2,024 workers, construction sector with 1,213 vacancies, and tourism with 885 open positions. IT industry needs at least 1,000 additional experts.
Construction Minister Lovro Kuščević recently refused to approve HUP’s request because there are many constructions workers which are registered as unemployed. However, according to unofficial sources, “construction workers often go to job interviews asking employers not to hire them and beg them to report they were unsatisfactory”. The reason is that many officially unemployed construction workers actually work illegally.
However, in spite of the opposition by Minister Kuščević, it is expected that the government will soon allow new work permits for foreign workers because it does not see a way how to stop “unemployed” workers from cheating the authorities.