STA, 31 January 2019 - About 40% of employers in Slovenia have a problem finding qualified work force, according to a survey conducted by temping group ManpowerGroup. The figure is, however, 5% lower than the average of the survey conducted in 43 countries.
Compared to a similar survey conducted in 2017, the share of companies that have a tough job finding skilled work force has increased by 40%.
The needs of employers are changing and they are often looking for work force with very specific know-how, skills and experience, Nebojša Biškup, the head of ManpowerGroup Slovenia and Croatia said on Thursday.
Modern jobs do not always demand a university degree, but they do depend on continuous development of skills because even the most traditional work places will require modern technology skills, Biškup added.
The survey included more than 39,000 employers from six industries, finding that more than half of them have started investing in educational platforms and the development of tools to train the right work force. A survey in 2014 showed that only 20% of employers made such investments.
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STA, 30 January 2019 - The past year has been again excellent for business, so it's time for long-term measures to raise net wages, the Managers' Association of Slovenia (Združenja Manager) boss Aleksander Zalaznik said as he addressed the association's annual get-together in Ljubljana on Wednesday.
Taking a look at 2018, Zalaznik said exports reached 86% of Slovenia's GDP, and praised the fact that 75% of jobs were created by new and fast-growing companies, which was above EU average, as especially encouraging.
Still, signs of a slowdown in Slovenia's main trade partners could be noticed in recent months, and Brexit is another unknown, he said, adding competitiveness and productivity remained Slovenia's challenges, while demographics should also not be neglected.
Nevertheless, an important next step is raising net wages to contain brain drain and facilitate further economic development. So the association proposes a five-year agreement to gradually raise gross wages and reduce taxation.
"A social agreement that we all want a competitive business environment is crucial here," said Zalaznik, who is convinced Slovenia is able to make this leap. "The moment is right, let's take it."
His view about higher wages but also a higher added value was echoed by Zdravko Počivalšek, the minister of economic development and technology.
He said the Council for Competitive and Stable Business Environment, the ministry's advisory body, had proposed the government and businesses draft a long-term plan for wage growth.
"Higher wages and a higher added value must be the goal of all of us, and they are also our responsibility," the minister stressed.
The managers were also addressed by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, who outlined via video conference government plans to improve the business environment in 2019.
He said the government would draft a proposal on tax restructuring and overhaul the regulatory framework.
The event was attended by President Borut Pahor, who thanked the association for its contribution to Slovenia becoming a better society since gaining independence.
The Managers' Association, which traditionally holds its get-together at the start of a new business year, also gave out its annual awards.
The lifetime achievement award for 2018 went to Bogomir Strašek, the founder, majority owner and director of automotive supplier KLS Ljubno.
Igor Verstovšek, the co-owner of hi-tech company Cosylab, became Young Manager of 2018.
The Artemide award for breaking the glass ceiling to assume top posts in companies was bestowed on GZS director general Sonja Šmuc and Agitavit Solutions director Anka Brus.
STA, 12 January 2019 - The economic and financial crisis in Slovenia, which started in 2009, brought a significant growth of unemployment, with the number of the unemployed more than doubling to almost 130,000 at the beginning of 2014. The situation on the labour market has been improving lately, with shortage of certain staff actually becoming a problem.
The number of registered unemployed persons was up steeply in 2009 and peaked at the beginning of 2014 at almost 130,000, which was around double of that before the crisis.
It was in 2014 when the number finally started to decline, with the improvement on the labour market accelerating in 2016 and 2017 and continuing in 2018, with the number standing at 78,534 at the end of the year.
Projections for the coming years speak about an additional improvement, with the number of registered unemployed expected to drop to the pre-crisis level by 2021 barring major negative shocks.
There is a large number of structurally and long-term unemployed people in Slovenia and hard-to-employ people, whose activation requires additional active employment policy measures.
Given the circumstances, a large number of companies have already started reporting shortages of adequately trained staff, which is becoming a limiting factor in the implementation of their strategies.
The number of the active working population is also growing again, and the employment rate exceeded the pre-crisis level in 2017. The total number continued to increase in 2018 to reach 1.022 million in the third quarter, a 23-year record.
Although the total employment rate is somewhat higher than the EU average, Slovenia fares much worse when it comes to the employment rate in the 55-64 age category despite an improvement in recent years.
In 2017, it stood at 43% or 14 percentage points below the EU average. Slovenia is meanwhile recording better progress in the under-25 category, but its rate is still at roughly half of the EU average.
Employment Registered Survey
rate (%) unemployment (%) unemployment (%)
2008 73.0 6.7 4.4
2009 71.9 9.1 5.9
2010 70.3 10.7 7.2
2011 68.4 11.8 8.2
2012 68.3 12.0 8.9
2013 67.2 13.1 10.1
2014 67.7 13.1 9.7
2015 69.1 12.3 9.0
2016 70.1 11.2 8.0
2017 73.4 9.5 6.6
* The figures are annual averages
Source: Statistics Office, Employment Service
Growth of wages slowed down in the crisis years and came to a stop in 2012 and 2013. Wages started to grow again noticeably only in 2017 and 2018, when the growth of gross wages exceeded 3%, with the trend expected to continue and grow even stronger in the coming years. Domestic and foreign macroeconomic analysts are stressing that the growth of wages will not significantly exceed the growth of productivity and undermine the competitiveness of the economy.
Data for the period as of 2008 also show that the growth of wages was higher in the private than in the public sector. While in the public sector the crisis was fought with lay-offs, there were no dismissals in the public sector, with the number of employees even increasing in certain activities. Civil servants did contribute their share by accepting austerity measures, which are only now being gradually abolished.
In the years after 2013, contributing significantly to the real purchasing power was a low inflation, which was noticeable again only in 2017 and last year, when it reached 1.4% according to preliminary estimates.
What also marked the crisis years was a raise of the minimum wage of more than 20% in 2010, which enraged the employers, who blamed the rise in the unemployment rate in the coming years on this measure. Trade unions were meanwhile noting that the minimum wage was still below the minimum costs of living and that all bonuses were calculated into it.
In the recent years, the minimum wage has been increasing more gradually, standing at EUR 843 gross last year. This year it will increase to EUR 886 and in 2020 to EUR 940 gross under the latest legislative changes, which also regulate the elimination of bonuses from the minimum wage as of 1 January 2020.
Inflation (%) Average net wage* Average gross wage*
in EUR growth in % in EUR growth in %
2008 2.1 899.8 7.8 1,391.4 8.2
2009 1.8 930.0 3.3 1,439.0 3.4
2010 1.9 966.6 3.9 1,494.9 3.9
2011 2.0 987.4 2.1 1,524.6 2.0
2012 2.7 991.4 0.4 1,525.5 0.0
2013 0.7 997.0 0.6 1,523.2 0.0
2014 0.2 1,005.4 0.8 1,540.2 1.1
2015 -0.5 1,013.2 0.8 1,555.9 1.0
2016 0.5 1,030.2 1.7 1,584.7 1.8
2017 1.7 1,062.0 3.1 1,627.0 2.7
* Annual average
Source: Statistics Office
In addition to the demographic trends, one of the key challenges for long-term development and economic competitiveness of Slovenia are growth in productivity and added value in the economy, to which growth of wages and well-being are tied. In this segment, the economic crisis brought stagnation and even a slight decline, while in comparison with the EU average, productivity in the Slovenian economy in 2018 was still lower than in the pre-crisis 2008.
Gross added value per employee was up in the 2008-2017 period, but is still well below the EU and eurozone averages, at 63% of the EU average and 57% of the eurozone average.
Increasing productivity and added value is a challenge both for the economy and economic policy. Businesses have set an ambitious goal of reaching EUR 60,000 in added value per employee, EUR 50bn in exports and an EUR 2,300 average wage by 2025, which is why they except measures from the state ranging from the tax police to the immigration policy.
Among the necessary measures both in the economy and institutions, they have pointed to measures for growth of investments in new production capacities and new technologies and digitalisation, a growth in investments in research and development, which as a share of GDP dropped from 2.6% in 2013 to 1.93% in 2017.
Labour productivity, % of EU average
Per employee Per hour worked
2008 83.5 83.8
2009 79.9 79.0
2010 79.4 78.2
2011 80.6 80.3
2012 80.0 79.8
2013 80.3 78.9
2014 81.2 78.9
2015 80.5 77.9
2016 80.5 79.7
2017 81.0 81.5
Source: Statistics Office
Gross value added, in EUR
Per employee EU average Eurozone average
2008 34,759 55,079 61,492
2009 33,694 52,917 60,581
2010 34,107 55,506 62,638
2011 35,594 56,951 64,164
2012 34,854 58,247 64,834
2013 35,643 58,850 65,863
2014 36,893 60,247 66,991
2015 37,758 62,818 68,678
2016 39,091 62,418 69,398
2017 40,136 63,276 70,861
All out stories on the Slovenian economy can be found here
STA, 10 January 2019 - More than 90% of Austrian companies doing business in Slovenia believe the country will continue to be an investment-friendly environment this year, follows from an annual survey conducted by the representation of the Austrian economy in Slovenia, Advantage Austria Ljubljana. The skills gap remains an issue.
Around 60% of surveyed Austrian business executives said that the economic situation in Slovenia had improved last year and would advance further this year. Accordingly, more than half of the respondents said that revenue and orders would go up this year.
"Austrian companies and investors are aware that they have an incredibly interesting, dynamic, stable, competitive and reliable market with plenty of opportunities right next to them," Peter Hasslacher, the head of Advantage Austria Ljubljana, said at the presentation of the survey.
Companies doing business in Slovenia are satisfied with the accessibility of public tenders and their transparency, and with the quality, education and the motivation of the workforce in Slovenia.
However, they find it increasingly hard to find suitable workers. Among those, 73% would require more workers with secondary education and almost 27% more workers with higher education.
According to Hubert Culik, the head of coatings maker Helios, which had been owned by Austria's Ring International before being sold to Japanese Kansai Paint, there is a lack of practical training of young people in Slovenia.
"Many of our new employees require lengthy practical training despite just having finished their studies," he said.
Other measures that would further improve the business environment in Slovenia include reducing taxes and red tape, improving the flexibility of labour market, and stabilising the political situation, according to the respondents.
STA, 19 December 2018 - Slovenia's tourism industry has had another record year, with tourist nights expected to top 15.2 million by the end of 2018, up from last year's 12.6 million. Still, some challenges remain to be addressed, including the shortage of staff and low pay as well as the consolidation of state-owned tourism companies.
Slovenia has regularly made it to various lists of destinations worth exploring which are compiled by specialist media abroad, and the country's promotional campaigns have regularly won awards at major international tourism events.
"Slovenia is not only a recognisable destination, it is now a trendy destination," is how Slovenian Tourist Board (STO) director Maja Pak has recently summed the country's position in global tourism.
Tourism revenue, a key indicator of tourism performance, is growing, rising by 11.6% to EUR 2.12m in the first nine months of the year.
While the 2017 tourist nights figures were exceeded already in October, Slovenia expects to record over 5.6 million tourist arrivals in 2018, up from 4.95 million last year.
The number of foreign guests is to reach 4.2 million by the end of the year, and they are expected to generate almost 11 million tourist nights, STO data shows.
The growth is thus considerably more robust that in the EU or in the world.
Following the crisis, hotels are back in the black, yet Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, whose ministry is in charge of tourism, is not entirely happy yet.
He believes the relatively low value added should be blamed on the fact that as many as 40% of hotels are in state ownership.
He thus insists on their restructuring as envisaged in the 2017-2021 strategy on sustainable development of Slovenian tourism.
Once they are brought under one roof, preferably under Slovenian Sovereign Holding, they should be consolidated to secure a higher value added and then gradually sold.
He believes there is room for no more than two to three major groups in the sector, and is confident the incumbent government will complete the restructuring process.
However, Počivalšek has admitted on several occasions that this will not be easy since not all stakeholders have the same view on the issue.
That even state stakeholders have different interests in the sector has been recently proven by the fact that several different state companies and funds bid for six hotels on the coast which are being sold by Istrabenz Turizem.
To achieve a higher value added, Slovenian tourism also needs to develop new innovative products, which implies investment into infrastructure.
To encourage the investment cycle, the ministry and SID Bank have launched a EUR 160m loan scheme for new accommodation facilities. Počivalšek has said there is much interest.
By passing changes to the law on encouraging tourism development, the government enabled municipalities to raise tourist fee and introduce a new tax to secure more funds for tourism promotion.
The tourist free was capped at EUR 2.5 per person a night, but is still set by individual municipalities.
The new tax meanwhile amounts to 25% of the tourist fee and will be charged as of 2019 as a a new source of STO funds, bringing it an estimated EUR 4.7m a year.
Many municipalities have opted to raise the tourist fee, with several popular destinations such as Ljubljana, Piran and Bled raising it to the maximum.
The ministry has assessed the measure will annually bring all Slovenian municipalities additional EUR 6.9m.
For 2019, the ministry is planning further legislative changes to relax the rules on the hospitality sector and mountain guides.
New rules will also be introduced governing tourist accommodation facilities which introduce internationally-comparable Hotelstars standards.
Owners of accommodation facilities have until 1 April to adjust to a unified set of criteria to classify accommodation facilities.
Staff is one of the most burning issues in hospitality and tourism, with employers having a hard time finding quality staff in Slovenia or in the broader region.
This is mainly due to difficult working conditions and low pay.
A new collective bargaining agreement was signed in August, bringing higher wages for workers receiving the lowest pay, a higher annual holiday allowance of EUR 1,000 and changes to overtime work.
Nevertheless, hospitality and tourism trade unions have already announced their plan to push for fresh pay talks.
This year was one of the most intensive and successful years for Slovenia in terms of marketing as well. The STO continued with its digital campaign Slovenia - Make New Memories this time on 17 markets, including in the US and Canada for the first time.
Its main promotional slogan "Slovenia - Green. Active. Healthy." will be replaced with "I Feel Slovenia. My Way." in 2019.
However, just like in 2018, culture will remain in the focus of the STO's promotional campaigns, to be replaced by gastronomy in 2020 and 2021.
STA, 18 December 2018 - The number of jobs created in Slovenia increased to 885,700 in October with one in ten of the jobs filled by foreigners, fresh data from the Statistics Office show.
The number of people in employment in the country increased by 0.9% from November and by 3.2% on the same period a year ago.
More than half of those in jobs were men, their number rising by 0.8% from September to 486,600. The number of employed women rose by 1% to 399,000.
Manufacturing created most new jobs, the number of those employed there rising by 4.1% to over 8,000.
Almost 10% of all people in employment in Slovenia were foreigners. Their number rose by 19.5% in a year to 87,700. This is up 2% from September.
Most foreigner workers were from Bosnia-Herzegovina (42,600), Serbia (10,800), Croatia (7,500), Kosovo (7,100) and Macedonia (6,000).
Most were employed in the construction industry (23,400), manufacturing (20,300) and in transport and storage (14,800).
STA, 3 October 2018 - The number of people registered with the Slovenian Employment Service as being out of a job dropped to 73,781 at the end of September, 2.8% fewer than the month before and 8.9% fewer than a year ago.
STA, 11 September 2018 - Employers in Slovenia are quite optimistic about hiring in the final quarter of the year, with as many as 20% of them planning to increase their staff. The prospects for hiring in Slovenia are thus among the most promising in the region and the world, the latest survey by temping agency Manpower shows.
STA, 31 August 2018 - Driven by external trade, Slovenia's economy expanded by 3.8% in the second quarter over the same period a year ago, while the seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 4.3% year-on-year and by 0.8% from the previous quarter, the Statistics Office (SURS) reported.