ECONOMY

Croatia launches labor market website

ZAGREB – Croatia yesterday launched a labor market monitoring website which it hopes will boost foreign investments and economic competitiveness ahead of European Union entry expected by 2012. Due to the 1991-95 war which resulted in its independence, Croatia missed a major wave of foreign investments in central and eastern Europe. Investment, particularly on greenfield sites, has lagged behind in recent years due to red tape and relatively high labor costs. «This is a rare website (on emerging markets) where potential investors will be able to find out quickly all key information,» Slobodan Mikac, an official in charge of the project, said at its presentation. «It includes information on what the labor market offers in all 21 Croatian counties and what would be the cost of employment for each available profession.» Mikac, who heads the state agency for promoting exports and foreign investments (APIU), said investors will be able to see what kind of work force can be expected in the coming years from local schools and colleges. «This is a tool to attract investors and I’m confident they will find it useful,» Mikac said. The website (www.apiu.hr/labourmonitor/) will also provide an overview of the local labor-related legal framework, taxation policy and incentives in particular economic sectors, and allow potential investors to assess labor costs. Since Croatia declared independence, foreign investments amounted to 17.6 billion euros, mostly in services. Mikac said Croatia was aware that it could not compete with cheap labor but wanted primarily to provide a skilled work force for value-added industries.