More Companies and More Exports in Lowest Paid Industry in Country

Lauren Simmonds

Due to low wages, the textile and leather industry is increasingly struggling to reach a new professional workforce…

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of January, 2018, although the number of employees over the past 10 years has halved in the textile and garment industry in Croatia, the number of companies in the field hasn’t decreased considerably.

As was stated on the 11th Scientific and Professional Consultancy “Textile Science and Economy” in Zagreb on Wednesday, the number of companies has grown in recent years, with total revenues having no major oscillations, and by 2016, up by 13% when compared to the previous year.

Older workforce

Jagoda Divić, secretary of the Textile and Clothing Industry Association of HGK, points out that there is constant growth in textile exports as well as in the clothing industry, where salaries are among the lowest. Branka Prišlić, the secretary of the HGK Leather Processing Industry, points out the problem of the fact that in Croatia, there is a natural outflow of workforce that is older and the employment of younger people in this industry is lacking.

“These industries are concentrated mainly in northwestern Croatia, with 73 footwear manufacturing companies registered, but the lowest wages in Croatia are recorded here. Exports had increased by 1.5% in 2016 compared to 2015, while imports were smaller, at 2.8%, with most exports going to neighboring countries and Germany,” Prišlić said. Marko Pavić, Minister of the Labour and Pension System, announced that the opening up of jobs raised value, and that raising the salaries in these industries and linking the economy and universities to foster research and the development of new products were the goals that the Croatian government wants to achieve.

EU funds

One of the main mechanisms of assistance should be cheaper capital, especially EU funds, which small and medium-sized entrepreneurs can easily obtain through the specialised agency HAMAG-BICRO, led by Vjeran Vrbanac. However, the real sector warns that there are a number of problems to be faced, since companies such as Ivančica and Galeb are unable apply for such bidding.

Josip Maslac Petričević, the owner of Naftalina, the leading manufacturer of hotel and catering products, said that they had to develop a range of support activities from maintenance, washing, rental and delivery of assortments in order to maintain their core business – textile production. Ivančica, headed by Nada Zver, has its own development bureau and trading network while Galeb from Omiš has expanded its range of activities in the energy and tourism sectors, as well as in the perspective of organic food production.


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