Even without the SOR, about 20% of respondents receive wages below HRK 3,500 and are in the lowest income bracket, while outside the SOR some 46% of graduates aged between 20 and 29 make between 3,500 and 5,000 in the first year of employment. Just 5.3% of young graduates make more than HRK 7,000, while less than 3% make more than 10,000.
The Science and Higher Education Agency (AZVO) in cooperation with the Faculty of Organization and Informatics at the University of Zagreb conducted a national survey on employment of graduates in Croatia on a sample of 7,201 respondents in 2017. Some 34% revealed that they are employed through the SOR, with as many employed temporarily, 25% are employed permanently and 2% are unregistered workers.
Regardless of the fact that 46% of young graduates initially work for less than HRK 3,500, they are relatively happy with their first jobs and rate them with an average of 3.72 out of 5. While authors of the survey pointed out that as many as 78% of graduates manage to find employment in the first six months following graduation (of which about 97% in Croatia), this should be taken with a pinch of salt as some respondents define work through student employment contracts as employment. The private sector employs majority of respondents (59%), followed by State-owned companies with 38%, while just 1.2% of graduates start their own businesses. Most graduates find their first employment through the Employment Bureau (HZZ) (approximately 25% of respondents), followed by direct contact with employer (17%) and connections through family, friends and acquaintances (16%).
Besides the fact that one in two students did not have mandatory practice during studies, fewer than 7% of graduates spent one semester studying abroad. As the third negative aspect of higher education experiences, a large number of respondents pointed out that their studies did not offer support for career development, starting or managing their own business.
This shows that Croatia is one of two EU member states that do not have career centers at universities. With several exceptions, studies do not hone a wide spectrum of competencies needed on the labor market - graduates list series of generic and transferrable competencies which they have not trained adequately during studies, such as the ability to manage time and team projects efficiently, responsibility, motivation, teamwork, innovation and creativity, entrepreneurship, adaptation to new situations, ability to work under pressure and with members of other cultures or orientations as well as understanding professional literature in foreign languages.
Average starting monthly wage of young graduates
Wage Women Men
< HRK 3,000 52% 36%
3,500 - 5,000 30% 35%
5,000 - 7,000 14% 22%
7,000 - 10,000 3% 4.6%
> 10,000 1% 2.4%