As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, RTL talked about the growing number of foreign workers in Croatia, but also how we might work to retain the ”homegrown” labour force from Croatia, with the CEO of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP), Damir Zoric.
The Republic of Croatia will soon exceed the number of 100,000 work permits having been issued for foreign (non EEA) workers, and Zoric said that the cause of this is the large demographic changes that Croatia is still going through, the increasing numbers of the younger generation leaving Croatia to work elsewhere, and the paradoxical situation of the outflow of labour on the one hand, but also economic growth on the other.
“The Croatian economy has to find its way and now requires the import of labour,” he told RTL. He also said that highly qualified workers and low-qualified workers, of which there are very many, come to Croatia.
“These are workers in service industries, primarily in tourism, hospitality and catering, they’re also construction workers who are extremely needed and in high demand, and there are some of them working in agriculture in seasonal jobs. Croatia is dominated by foreigners who come from neighbouring countries, traditionally for them, Croatia is the area where they find work. There are more and more people coming from Asian countries, but also from Ukraine and the Philippines,” he said.
He also said that employers only have words of praise for foreign workers in Croatia. “People praise them, saying that they’re extremely hardworking, disciplined, yes, of course they need a period of adjustment, which is natural, but I don’t know of a single case where people have expressed themselves in any sort of negative manner,” he said.
He also commented on whether the days have passed when local workers worked in hospitality, tourism and catering establishments on the coast, considering that there are more and more foreign workers in Croatia doing such jobs. “We need to see what happens in certain Western countries. When you arrive at a hotel in Paris, it’s rare to see a native Frenchman working there, these are people who have sought happiness in work and life in France. Croatia is on that path and it will not stop now,” he said.
He also commented on whether foreign workers in Croatia work under conditions and for wages that Croats don’t want to work for.
“Everything is a matter of the market, it’s about the relationship between demand and supply. For some, a salary of 500 or 600 euros is good, for some it isn’t, and that’s why what is happening is that some people leave and some come,” he said. When asked how we might retain the local workforce, Zoric said: “Net wages need to be higher for Croatia to be more attractive to people with a higher educational structure, more complex knowledge and more demanding occupations.”
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