Characteristics of the labor market in Croatia and contemporary external migration

Main Article Content

Monika Komušanac


The paper analyzes the characteristics of the labor market in Croatia, the changes in the demographic potential of the working-age population, and the structural determinants of the labor system. The movement of the number of able-bodied, active and inactive population from 2013 until today, points to a trend of decreasing the able-bodied contingent, economic activity and unemployment of the population, and an increase in employment. The analysis showed that the structural problems on the labor market in Croatia are an insufficiency of educational staff, structural unemployment, youth unemployment, and the mismatch between the supply and demand of jobs. Such characteristics of the work system influenced the movement of the determinants of external migration in Croatia, especially after 2013. Simultaneously with the strengthening of emigration, the number of immigrated persons also increases, so that from 2013 to 2022, their number amounted to about 195 thousand of mostly foreign citizens. We can establish that we are talking about free economic migrations and an increased inflow of labor, mostly unskilled workers, which makes up for the lack of domicile workforce.
Structural-selective unemployment in Croatia can be analyzed on a general level according to age groups and according to education, and on a specific level, through indicators of the skills mismatch on the labor market. The total unemployment rate in Croatia has experienced a significant decline since 2013, and current unemployment is the lowest in the youngest working age, and the highest in the age over 40. Compared to 2013, the share of unemployed persons with primary and lower secondary education in Croatia is continuously decreasing, the share of unemployed persons with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education levels is slightly falling (with frequent oscillations), while the share of unemployed persons with tertiary education is increasing. Problems on the labor market in Croatia have been noticeable after the global economic crisis of 2008 and its high unemployment, and in the last ten years also in the areas with a low level of economic activity of the population and a lack of domestic labor for the functionality of certain sectors of activity.
On the other hand, the structure of the emigrant contingent, in which the young and able-bodied population predominates, points to the outflow of labor force of medium and high qualification levels. The review of research on recent emigration confirms the complex conditionality of leaving Croatia, and among the main factors a group of economic ones arising from the macroeconomic situation and structural deficiencies in the labor market stands out. In addition to economic factors, other types of factors are strengthening, which is why the continuation of the emigration of the Croatian population and the immigration of the foreign population are likely to be expected. The isolated and presented indicators and trends point to the complexity of the relationship between economic and labor factors, contemporary migration patterns and demographic characteristics of the resident population, in accordance with previous theoretical and empirical knowledge.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Komušanac, M. (2024). Characteristics of the labor market in Croatia and contemporary external migration. Stanovnistvo, 62(1), 103–126.
Author Biography

Monika Komušanac, Faculty of Croatian studies – Department of demography and Croatian emigration, University of Zagreb, Zagreb (Croatia)

Assistant professor


Arslan, C., Dumont, J. C., Kone, Z., Moullan, Z., Ozden, Z., Parsons, C., & Xenogiani, T. (2014). A new profile of migrants in the aftermath of the recent economic crisis. OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, 160. DOI:

Bečić, M. (2013). Obrazovna neusklađenost na tržištu rada: preobrazovanost i njezine implikacije. Ekonomski vjesnik: Review of Contemporary Entrepreneurship, Business, and Economic Issues, 26, 2, 621–635.

Bečić, M. (2014). Preobrazovanost na tržištu rada Republike Hrvatske. Ekonomska misao i praksa, 23, 1 (134), 9–36.

Bejaković, P. (2006). Uloga obrazovnog sustava u postizanju zapošljivosti i konkuretnosti radne snage u Hrvatskoj. Društvena istraživanja, 15, 3(83), 401–425.

Bruno, G., Marelli, E., & Signorelli, M. (2014). The Rise of NEET and Youth Unemployment in EU Regions after the Crisis. Comparative Economic Studies, 56(4), 592–615. DOI:

Butković, H., Samaržija, V., & Rukavina, I. (2022). Strani radnici u Hrvatskoj: izazovi i mogućnosti za gospodarski i društveni razvoj. IRMO, Institu za razvoj i međunarodne odnose, Zagreb.

CEDEFOP, Europski centar za razvoj strukovnog osposobljavanja (2022). Over-qualification rate (of tertiary graduates).

Coleman, D. (2006). Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition. Population and Development Review, 32(3), 401–446. DOI:

Czaika, M., & de Haas, H. (2012). The Role of Internal and International Relative Deprivation in Global Migration. Oxford Development Studies, 40(4), 423–442. DOI:

Desjardins, R., & Warnke, A. J. (2012). Ageing and skills: A review and analysis of skill gain and skill loss over the lifespan and over time. OECD Education Working Papers, 72. DOI:

Draženović, I., Kunovac, M. & Pripužić, D. (2018). Dynamics and determinants of emigration: the case of Croatia and the experience of new EU member. Public Sector Economics, 42(4), 415–447. DOI:

DZS, Državni zavod za statistiku Republike Hrvatske (2018). Aktivno stanovništvo u Republici Hrvatskoj 2017, prosjek godine.

DZS, Državni zavod za statistiku Republike Hrvatske (2018a). Prosječna mjesečno neto isplaćena plaća po zaposlenome u pravnim osobama Republike Hrvatske za 2017.

DZS, Državni zavod za statistiku Republike Hrvatske (2022a). Aktivno stanovništvo u Republici Hrvatskoj 2021, prosjek godine.

DZS, Državni zavod za statistiku Republike Hrvatske (2022b). Popis stanovništva, kućanstava i stanova 2021. Konačni rezultati.

DZS, Državni zavod za statistiku Republike Hrvatske (2023). Migracija stanovništva Republike Hrvatske u 2022.

DZS, Državni zavod za statistiku Republike Hrvatske (2024). Prosječna mjesečno neto isplaćena plaća po zaposlenome u pravnim osobama Republike Hrvatske za 2023.

EUROSTAT (2016). Employment and labour demand,

EUROSTAT (2020). Population structure and ageing. explained/index.php?title=Population_structure_and_ageing

EUROSTAT (2023a). Unemployment by sex and age – annual data.

EUROSTAT (2023b). Employment statistics 2022. Annual data and figures

EUROSTAT (2023c). Unemployment rates by sex, age and educational attainment level (%).

EUROSTAT (2023d). Over-qualification rates by economic activity (NACE Rev. 2)

EUROSTAT (2023e). Young people neither in employment nor in education and training (NEET), by sex and age.

EUROSTAT (2023f). Wages and labor costs.

Gligorijević, V., Knezević, A., & Bakić, D. (2023). Decomposition of the recent increase in the labour force participation rate in Serbia. Bulletin of the Serbian Geographical Society, 103(1), 475–502. DOI:

Gligorijević, V., Mirić, N., & Vasić, P. (2014). Is skills’ renewal in ageing workforce possible? Evidence from Serbia. Proceedings for Social Sciences Matica Srpska, (148), 653–664. DOI:

Green, D. A., & Riddell, W. C. (2013). Ageing and literacy skills: Evidence from Canada, Norway and the United States. Labour Economics, 22, 16–29. DOI:

HGK, Hrvatska gospodarska komora (2015). Tržište rada u Hrvatskoj – nezaposlenost mladih, obrazovanje, radni vijek.

HZZ, Hrvatski zavod za zapošljavanje (2017). Anketa poslodavaca 2017.

HZZ, Hrvatski zavod za zapošljavanje (2021). Anketa poslodavaca 2020.

HZZ, Hrvatski zavod za zapošljavanje (2024). Mjesečni statistički bilten 1.

Jurić, T. (2017). Suvremeno iseljavanje Hrvata u Njemačku: karakteristike i motivi. Migracijske i etničke teme, 33(3), 337–371. DOI:

Klempić Bogadi, S., Gregurović, M., & Podgorelec, S. (2018). Doseljavanje iz Bosne i Hercegovine u Hrvatsku: Migracijski obrasci doseljenika u Zagrebu. Stanovništvo, 56(2), 39–62. DOI:

Komušanac, M. (2020). Revitalizacijski modeli stanovništva Republike Hrvatske. Sveučilište u Zagrebu. Accessed July 3rd 2023.

Komušanac, M. (2023a). Suvremene migracije i radna snaga: demografski i radno-ekonomski profil hrvatskoga iseljeništva u Irskoj. Kroatologija, 14(1), 35–57. DOI:

Komušanac, M. (2023b). Recentna imigracija radne snage u Hrvatsku: razmjeri, trendovi, obilježja. Migracijske i etničke teme, 39(2), 183–207. DOI:

Mesić, M. (2002). Globalizacija, nove države i novi migranti. Migracijske i etničke teme, 18, 1, 7–22.

MUP RH, Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova Republike Hrvatske (2018–2020). Stanje iskorištenosti godišnjih kvota za boravak i rad po djelatnostima i zanimanjima koje su izdane sukladno Odluci Vlade RH.

MUP RH, Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova Republike Hrvatske (2023). Statistike izdanih dozvola za boravak i rad za godinu 2023.

MUP RH, Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova Republike Hrvatske (2024). Statistika izdanih dozvola za boravak i rad u Hrvatskoj za godinu 2023. (spol, dob, kvalifikacije, boravište). Podatci dobiveni na zahtjev autora.

Obadić, A. (2017). Nezaposlenost mladih i usklađenost obrazovnog sustava s potrebama tržišta rada. Ekonomska misao i praksa, 26(1), 129–150.

O’Higgins, N. (2012). This Time It’s Different? Youth Labour Markets during ‘The Great Recession.’ Comparative Economic Studies, 54(2), 395–412. DOI:

Odluka o utvrđivanju godišnje kvote za zapošljavanje stranaca za kalendarsku godinu 2018. (2017, December 7th).

Odluka o utvrđivanju godišnje kvote za zapošljavanje stranaca za kalendarsku godinu 2019. (2018, December 20th).

Odluka o utvrđivanju godišnje kvote za zapošljavanje stranaca za kalendarsku godinu 2020. (2019, November, 22nd).

Pavić, D., & Ivanović, I. (2019). Razlike u prikupljanju migracijskih podataka: usporedba Hrvatske i odabranih europskih zemalja. Migracijske i etničke teme, 35(1), 7–32. DOI:

Pokos, N., & Peračković, K. (2016). Promjene u strukturi radno aktivnog stanovništva Hrvatske od 1971. do 2011. Revija za sociologiju, 46(3), 297–323. DOI:

Pokos, N. (2017). Osnovna demografska obilježja suvremenog iseljavanja iz Hrvatske. Političke analize: tromjesečnik za hrvatsku i međunarodnu politiku 8(31), 16–23.

Rutkowski, J. (2003). Analiza i prijedlozi poboljšanja tržišta rada u Hrvatskoj. Financijska teorija i praksa, 27(4), 495–513.

Struna (2023). In Hrvatsko strukovno nazivlje. Institut za hrvatski jezik i jezikoslovlje.

Šterc, S., & Komušanac, M. (2021). The New European Paradigm of Workforce Range. In Keković, Z., Đorić, M., & Polović, J. (Eds.), Security Crises in the 21st Century and How to Manage Them: Social and Security aspects (pp. 48–65). Beograd: CARUK, HUMS, IRMO, Libertas.

Šterc, S. (2023). Hrvatski demografski i migracijski nesklad. Kroatologija, 14(1), 13–32. DOI:

Tilly, C. (2011). The impact of the economic crisis in international migration. Work, Employment and Society, 25(4), 675–692. DOI:

TEB (2021, May 14th). Pregled kretanja neto i bruto plaća u RH u posljednih 20 godina.

Transparency International (2023). Corruption Perception Index, 2022.

Troskot, Z., Prskalo, M. E., & Šimić Banović, R. (2019). Ključne odrednice iseljavanja visokokvalificiranog stanovništva: Slučaj Hrvatske s komparativnim osvrtom na nove članice EU-a. Zbornik radova Pravnog fakulteta u Splitu, 56(4), 877–904. DOI:

Zakon o strancima (2023, January 1st).

Zelić, M. (2020). Nezaposlenost u Republici Hrvatskoj od 2008. do 2019. Sveučilište u Splitu. Accessed June 25th 2023.

Župarić-Iljić, D. (2016). Iseljavanje iz Republike Hrvatske nakon ulaska u Europsku uniju. Zagreb: Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung.