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Employment in the Western Balkans: Challenges of a Young Market Economy

Friday, 16 November 2012, 13:30 – 17:30, ewz Unterwerk Selnau Zurich


Many people in the Western Balkans are unable to obtain paid work. They often lack sufficient qualifications to participate in economic life. Disadvantaged groups in particular, such as ethnic minorities, the rural population, women and young people, have great difficulty gaining access to the labour market. At the same time, employers complain that they struggle to find skilled workers.

The reasons for this situation are complex: Besides the basic fact that too few jobs are available, vocational education and training in the Western Balkans is insufficiently geared towards the needs of the labour market.The structural transformation into a market economy has not been fully implemented throughout the region and the informal sector remains large. As a result, the government's ability to collect tax revenues is hampered and workers lack legal protections and social benefits.

This is where the SDC and SECO come in: Various programmes in Switzerland are making young people better prepared for working life and reintegrate unemployed adults into the labour market. The aim is to create a better business environment for small and medium-sized companies and to facilitate access to investment capital and ultimately to the international market.

 Retrospective of the Conference

Dossier: Films, Speeches, Video Clips, Photo Gallery and Media Release

Theme page: Youth Employment and Vocational Training
The SDC promotes youth employment and is working to develop and reorient vocational education and training in the Western Balkans to help overcome the challenges of the labour market situation in the region.

SDC projects for employment and vocational training in the Western Balkans

A sampling of projects currently underway illustrates the SDC’s commitment to the region.

Cooperation with partner organisations in the Western Balkans

In conjunction with the annual conference, the partner organizations of the SDC and the SECO made presentations of their employment and vocational training projects.