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Key Things to Know About Landing a Job and Working in Croatia as an Expat

Updated: Feb 28

With its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and affordable living costs, Croatia is an attractive destination for expats. As you consider taking the leap and starting a new chapter in this beautiful country, you must have the right advice to easily navigate your job search and land a job.


As a native Croatian who has had the pleasure of working with people from all over the world, I've gathered all the most important information in one place to make an informed decision and help you prepare for the move.


So, here you'll find invaluable tips to land a job and build a successful career in Croatia, covering:



Don't let the unknown hold you back – it's time to find out how to make Croatia your next home and build a thriving career in that beautiful country.


 

Job Opportunities in Croatia

Before you start searching for jobs, it's important to note that in 2023, the average unemployment rate in Croatia was around 6-7%.


Despite that, Croatia’s economy is growing steadily, and its job market is becoming more diverse, offering interesting job opportunities for expats.


Here are some of the fastest-growing industries, in-demand careers, and tips on how to find a job in Croatia.

Fastest-growing industries in Croatia

One of the fastest-growing industries in Croatia is the tech sector.


The country has become a small startup hub, and the government has invested significantly in developing the tech industry.


With many international tech companies coming to the Croatian market and valuing foreign talent, the tech industry is an attractive option for all expats. And it's one of the rare industries where you can easily get a job without knowing Croatian.


Besides tech, the biggest industries in Croatia are:



Plus, with its location on the Adriatic coast, Croatia has become a popular destination for tourists, boosting the hospitality industry, where knowledge of any other foreign language is always considered an advantage.


National flag of Croatia symbolizing opportunities in a blog for expats on landing a job in Croatia.

Photo by Walder on Pexels


In-demand careers for expats


If you are an expat looking for job opportunities in Croatia, some of the most in-demand careers are in the tech industry.


Software developers, web designers, and IT security specialists are highly sought after. Other careers in demand include tourism, marketing, sales, and hospitality.


If you are a native English speaker, you may have an advantage in finding a job in language teaching or translation services.



Where to look for a job


In Croatia, bigger cities often offer more job opportunities for expats and locals.


Unless you want to work in agriculture which is developed in rural areas, focus your job search on these four cities.


  • Zagreb: Croatia's capital city is a vibrant hub with diverse industries, from finance to IT and tourism.

  • Split: Located along the stunning Dalmatian coast, Split is a dream destination for job seekers in the hospitality, tourism, and maritime sectors.

  • Rijeka: As a major seaport, Rijeka offers a thriving job market, particularly in sectors related to maritime activities and logistics.

  • Varaždin: Situated in northern Croatia, Varaždin is a charming city known for its rich history and vibrant cultural scene. It offers job opportunities in sectors like IT, manufacturing, and education.

  • Dubrovnik: This enchanting UNESCO World Heritage site beckons professionals with opportunities in hospitality, event management, and customer service.


These cities not only provide employment opportunities but also offer a dynamic lifestyle, cultural experiences, and a chance to immerse yourself in the country's rich heritage.


How to find a job in Croatia


The best way to find a job in Croatia is to network. Attend job fairs and industry events, and join professional organizations to meet people in your field.


You can also use online job search engines.


The biggest and most popular job boards in Croatia are:



Make sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to the job you are applying for. If you do not speak Croatian, in most cases, it is essential to learn the language to increase your chances of finding a job.


A picture of a Croatian city symbolizing job opportunities for expats in Croatia.

With its growing economy and diverse job market, Croatia offers many opportunities for expats seeking a new career. By understanding the fastest-growing industries, in-demand careers, and job search strategies, you can increase your chances of finding a fulfilling job in Croatia.


 

Work Permits and Visas in Croatia


Before starting your journey, you need to know the types of work permits and visas available for you and the steps to obtain them.


Let's review the process and cover the basics for a successful application.


Types of Work Permits and Visas Available for Expats


A picture of a passport on a wooden surface.

Croatia offers several types of work permits and visas for expats. If you are a citizen of a non-EU country, you will need a work permit to work in Croatia.


The most common types of work permits for expats are:


There are also several types of visas available, including:



Steps to Obtain a Work Permit or Visa

The process of obtaining a work permit or visa in Croatia can be lengthy and complicated, but following these steps can make it easier:


  1. Find a job or employer in Croatia

  2. Apply for a work permit or visa at the Croatian embassy or consulate in your home country

  3. Complete the necessary forms and provide the required documents, such as a valid passport, employment contract, and proof of qualifications

  4. Pay the required fees

  5. Wait for the work permit or visa to be processed


Tips for a successful application process

Here are some tips to help you navigate the application process:


  • Start the application process well in advance to allow for any delays or complications

  • Ensure that all documents are accurate, complete, and translated into Croatian

  • Provide any additional information or documentation that may be requested

  • Be patient and follow up with the embassy or consulate regularly to check the status of your application

  • Consider hiring a professional immigration consultant to assist you with the process


Remember, obtaining a work permit or visa in Croatia can be a complex process, but with these tips and information, you can increase your chances of success.

 

Working Conditions in Croatia

Croatia has a stable economy with various job opportunities across various sectors.


However, knowing what to expect regarding working hours, salary, job benefits, and work-life balance is essential to make an informed decision.


Working hours and salary expectations

Working hours in Croatia are regulated by the Labor Law, which stipulates a maximum of 40 hours per week. However, some industries, such as tourism and hospitality, may require longer working hours during peak season.


The standard workweek is from Monday to Friday, with weekends off.


When it comes to salary expectations, the average net monthly salary in Croatia is around 920 EUR (approximately $1,000 USD).


However, salaries may vary depending on the industry and the experience level. Negotiating your salary and benefits before accepting a job offer is important.


Want to know exactly how much you'll earn? Use this salary calculator.


Job benefits and perks in Croatia

Croatia provides various job benefits and perks, including health insurance, paid vacation days, and sick leave.


The number of paid vacation days varies between 20 and 30, depending on the length of service and the employer's policy.


Additionally, employers may offer bonuses, meal vouchers, and other perks.


A picture of a town in Croatia by the sea.

Work-life balance in Croatia

Croatia values a healthy work-life balance, focusing on family and leisure time.


Employees have the right to flexible working hours, part-time work, and parental leave. Additionally, Croatia has an extensive public holiday calendar, with up to 20 days off per year.

It's important to note that the work culture in Croatia is relatively formal, emphasizing punctuality and professionalism. (Of course, this varies depending on the company size, culture, and industry. And you'll surely notice stark differences in work ethic between the private and public sectors.)


However, Croatians also value social interactions and building relationships with colleagues outside of work.


Overall, Croatia provides favorable working conditions for expats. It's essential to do your research and negotiate your salary and benefits to ensure a successful career in the country.


 

Know the Culture: Understanding Work Life in Croatia


As an expat, understanding the Croatian work culture is crucial to achieving success in your career. Embrace the differences to adapt and integrate well in the workplace and the country.


Here are some tips to help you understand the culture and work well with your Croatian colleagues.


Understanding the Croatian work culture


The Croatian work culture is characterized by a high-context communication style, where non-verbal cues and relationships play a significant role in communication.


Croatians value personal relationships and networking, prioritizing these over formalities and processes.


Croatians are also known for their hard work, punctuality, and job dedication. They have a strong sense of personal responsibility and take pride in their work. They also respect hierarchy and seniority and expect their superiors to provide guidance and leadership.



Tips for adapting to the work culture


Two women sitting and chatting outside of their office.

Adapting to the Croatian work culture can take time, but it is essential for building relationships and succeeding in your career.


Here are some tips to help you adjust:


  • Be patient and take the time to build relationships with your colleagues.

  • Be respectful of hierarchy and seniority, and seek guidance from your superiors.

  • Show dedication and hard work, and take pride in your accomplishments.

  • Be punctual and prioritize your work.

  • Be open to new ideas and perspectives, and be willing to learn from your colleagues.


The importance of networking in Croatia

Networking is crucial in Croatia, both for personal and professional reasons.


Croatians value personal relationships and connections and often rely on their networks for opportunities and information.


Here are some ways to build your network in Croatia:


  • Join professional organizations and attend networking events.

  • Connect with colleagues and peers on social media.

  • Participate in cultural events and activities to meet new people.

  • Be active in your community and volunteer for local events.

Join expat groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.


Facebook group Expats in Zagreb has over 17,000 members and it's a great place to get started and connect with other like-minded people who share the experience of living and working in Croatia.

 

Living in Croatia

Here is some information that can help you plan your move.

Cost of living in Croatia

Croatia is a beautiful country with a lower cost of living than in many other European countries.


The cost of living in Croatia is influenced by factors such as location, lifestyle, and the type of accommodation you choose.


The average monthly expenses for a single person are about $600 to $800, while a family of four will spend around $2,000 per month.


Food, transportation, and entertainment costs are relatively low, but the prices can vary depending on the season and location.

Two people holding and exchanging money, used in a blog post about the moving to and the cost of living in Croatia for expats.

If you want to save money, consider living outside of the major cities like Zagreb or Split.


Some of the smaller cities and towns have lower rent prices and a lower cost of living. You can also save money by cooking at home, buying groceries from local markets, and using public transportation.

Accommodation options for expats

When it comes to accommodation, there are many options available for expats in Croatia.


You can rent an apartment or a house or you can buy a property if you plan to stay for an extended period. The prices for renting vary depending on the location and the property size.


For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Zagreb can cost around $400 to $600 per month, while a two-bedroom apartment can cost between $600 to $900 per month.

If you prefer to live in a rural area, you can find some charming houses and cottages for rent. You can also consider sharing an apartment with other expats to save money on rent.


Some popular websites for finding accommodation in Croatia include:


Healthcare and insurance in Croatia

Croatia has a public healthcare system that covers all citizens and residents.


If you have a valid residence permit, you can access the public healthcare system for free or for a small fee. The public healthcare system is generally good, but certain procedures may have long waiting times. (By "long waiting months," I mean 6+ months, so be prepared for that.)

If you want faster and more personalized healthcare services, you can choose to have private health insurance.


The cost of private health insurance varies depending on the insurer and the coverage. Some of the popular health insurance companies in Croatia include Croatia osiguranje, Adriatic osiguranje, and Euroherc osiguranje.

Before moving to Croatia, it is advisable to research and compare the different insurance options available to you.


Also, once you land a job, double-check with your employer if they've got you covered.


 

Conclusion


Final verdict: living and working in Croatia can be a great experience for expats. The cost of living is relatively low, and many accommodation options are available. The public healthcare system is good, and you can also choose to have private health insurance for faster and more personalized healthcare services.


To land a job in Croatia, make sure to:


  • obtain a visa, work permit, or any other documentation you might need

  • network and try to land a job through word of mouth

  • target fastest-growing industries that seek international talent, such as tech

  • use the biggest and most popular job boards

  • familiarize yourself with work conditions in Croatia


And that's about it. Follow these steps and you'll be well on your way to living and working in this Mediterranean gem.



 

What's Next?



Headshot of two female expats and career coaches. Cutout headshot in a circle on purple background.

Matilda Patsou & Ana Colak-Fustin


Matilda and Ana, the founders of MoreThanCareers, are expats, international corporate recruiters, and HR professionals with 18+ years of combined HR experience. Since 2018, our career-building techniques, tools, and resources have helped over 500 coaching clients and 8,000 individuals worldwide land new, more fulfilling, higher-paying, career-changing jobs.



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