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Croatia - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


Croatia is a medium-sized European country geographically located between Central and South-East Europe. In 2018, the estimated population of Croatia was 4 087 843 inhabitants, with 1 975 052 men and 2 112 791 women. Of that number, 3 531 000 are working-age population. Approximately 1 655 000 inhabitants were employed in 2018, of which 103 000 were in agriculture, 453 000 in industry and 1 096 000 in the services sector. The unemployment rate in 2019 was 8.2%. Croatia consists of two NUTS regions, Continental Croatia and the Adriatic Croatia.

In 2019 economic growth experienced a slight increase of 2.9%. It is currently not possible to estimate the GDP decline for 2020, but considering the recent pandemic in Europe, it is assumed that it will be significant.

The labour market needs in Croatia are analysed by the Croatian Employment Service and the Ministry of Labour and Pension System. The labour market structure is characterised by labour shortages resulting from long-lasting demographic trends linked to an ageing population and significant emigration to other European Union Member States. The growing needs on the labour market are reflected in decisions of the Government of the Republic of Croatia on establishing the annual quota for work permits for foreigners in the Republic of Croatia, education recommendations of the HZZ, and an employers’ survey conducted by the HZZ. The total annual quota for work permits in 2020 is 78 470, out of which 64 604 are new permits. The dominant sectors in the quotas are the construction and tourism sectors in which more than 50 000 permits were foreseen. They are followed by the transport, metal industry, healthcare, and agriculture and forestry sectors. At the end of 2019, when the quota was adopted, significant needs for workers were expected in the mentioned sectors, but in view of the new situation it is not to be expected that all foreseen work permits will be executed.

In 2019, the average net salary amounted to HRK 6 559 (EUR 886) and the average gross salary to EUR 8 766 (EUR 1 184). There are significant differences across sectors. The highest average salaries were in the information and communication sectors, and the financial and insurance sectors. The lowest average salaries were recorded in the hospitality, administrative and service sectors and in the construction sector.


Text last edited on: 06/2020

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