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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.1 General context

Last update: 25 July 2022
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  1. Labour market situation in the country
  2. Main concepts


Labour market situation in the country

The activity rate of Croatian youth is among the lowest in Europe, and in 2020, it was 41.0% for young people aged 15-29. According to research results on a national representative sample of 2,000 young people in 2013 out of 508 young employees covered by the survey, the largest share of young people (38.0%) was employed in a small private enterprise or craft. Employment in a large private enterprise (26.5%) is almost equal to working in the public sector (23.7%). Employment in a family or a private company or craft is at modest levels and together includes less than tenth of youth. Regarding the type of contract signed by young people, half of all young people are employed on indefinite period full-time contracts (49.8%) and 41.7% on definite period full-time contracts, while only a modest part of them is employed for a certain (4.6%) or indefinite (2.8%) reduced working hours (i.e. part-time jobs). The average number of working hours indicates almost half of the young people (46.9%) who are doing average hours (40 hours a week), one third of them (33.5%) is working above the average and up to 50 hours a week, while those working more than 50 hours is 9.1%, and youth who work less than average is 11.4%. The earnings of young people are largely below the national average; 14.2% of young people receive monthly wages below 14.2%, 28.9% receive between HRK 2.501 and 3.500, 21.8% of them receive HRK 3.501-4.500, 17.1% of them receive HRK 4.501-5.400, and only 18.1% have wages around the national average.


Youth unemployment

Croatia holds the top position in Europe for youth unemployment at the time of writing this work, which has been the main social challenge for a long time alongside precarious work and the increasing number of young people who opted for (long) lasting leave abroad. Total unemployment of young people aged 15-29 in 2020 was 16.6%, while unemployment broken down into age subgroups was 50.8% for young people aged 15-19, 15.2% for young people aged 20-24, 13.2% for 25-29 years old, and in the subgroup of 20-29 years unemployment was 14.0%. There are 25.8% of young people (between 15 and 29 years) with low education (less than primary, primary and lower secondary education), 57.0% of upper secondary education (upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education) and 17.2% of young people in tertiary education.  In 2020, there are 3.8% long-term unemployed young people while in 2015 there was 15.3% long-term unemployed young people aged 15-29. The EU average for 2020 is 3.2%. The share of youth outside the education system, training and the labour market (NEET) is also relatively high and in 2020 it was 14.6% for the 15-29 age group.

The results of the aforementioned research show that in the group of unemployed 62.9% of young people are supported by parents during the unemployment, 38.4% occasionally perform various jobs, 12.6% are supported by their employed spouse, 10.5% receive cash benefits from the Croatian Employment Service, 1.8% receive assistance from humanitarian organizations, and 0.8% have another source of unemployment support.


Main concepts

Active labour market measures to help unemployed people back to work include job placement services, benefit administration, and labour market programmes such as training and job creation. (Source: OECD)

Career guidance refers to services and activities intended to assist individuals, of any age and at any point throughout their live, to make educational, training and occupational choices and to manage their career. (Source: OECD)

Employment rate represent persons in employment as a percentage of the economically active population. (Source: Eurostat, EU-LFS)

ILO defines unemployed persons as persons who:

  • are without work;
  • are available to start work within the next two weeks;
  • and have actively sought employment at some time during the previous four weeks.

The unemployment rate is the number of people unemployed as a percentage of the labour force (the total number of people employed plus unemployed). (Source: Eurostat, EU-LFS)

Long-term unemployed persons are persons who have been unemployed for one year or more. Long-term unemployment shares show the percentage of the long-term unemployed persons in the total unemployed population in the same age group. However, in this report as young people are marked as long-term unemployed if unemployed for 6 months or longer. (Source: Eurostat, EU-LFS)

Self-employed are persons who work in their own business, professional practice or farm for the purpose of earning a profit, and who either work on their own or employ at least one other person. (Source: Eurostat, EU-LFS)