Challenges Facing the Albanian Youth on the Road towards Employment

On October 26-th, AGENDA Institute presented its latest research package entitled “CHALLENGES FACING THE ALBANIAN YOUTH ON THE ROAD TOWARDS EMPLOYMENT - RECOMMENDATIONS”. The research was financed by the World Bank through MJAFT’s Project “Une Punoj”.

In this research package, AGENDA Institute argues that the employment of young people poses a set of challenges. In order to ensure sustainability for the development of the country, employment must be in the focus of economic and social policies. Even more so, youth employment constitutes an essential contributor to the country’s economic productivity as well as social cohesion and political stability, which altogether helps in the creation of real perspectives for future welfare and happiness.

Youth employment and education rates are presented as critical in Albania. Youth employment rates are 20% lower than the national rate of employment. During 2002-2005 youth employment among the age-group of 15 to 32 years old shows decreases. Meanwhile, put in the educational context, 62% of the youth aged from 18 to 24 years old do not attend schools or think of an alternative process of education or training.

The exclusion from the productive cycle that affects the young population during their transitional period from school into the labour market might have general bad effects on the society overall, other than on the economic output. “Unemployed or underemployed youngsters are less able to effectively contribute to the development of the nation and have less incentives to fully exercise their rights and functions as citizens of the society.” – concludes the research package.

Recommendations

Some of the recommendations of the AGENDA Institute to the policy-makers include:

1. Setting up Carrier Centres which should function within the universities and serve as a linking bridge between these institutions and Employment Offices or Agencies. These centers will help in counseling students on the labour market and its trends, for the creation of contacts with businesses or recruiting departments of different institutions, informing them on the application process for jobs, interviewing process as well as on how to write a CV in order to comply with the requirements of potential employers.

2. The Government can facilitate the transitional period of young people from school to the labour market by intervening with fiscal instruments. There are several modalities of offering this kind of support which have proven to be successful in other countries. Some of the possibilities could be partly subsidizing the wages for freshly graduated students, or excluding employers from the obligation to pay social insurance contributions for the early starters, or even by partly or fully subsidizing the costs of training for young employees.

3. The research package proposes the setting up of a fixed structure within the Albanian Banks Association, which will aim at encouraging preferential loans for business projects applied by young people. This institutional mediation will help reduce costs related to the inherent risk of applications coming from people with limited experience.

4. Considering the particularities of the Albanian labour market, it is necessary the adaptation of vocational training with the specific economic priorities of the targeted communities. Different Albanian localities need more labour force, but potential employers are looking for people with practical rather than theoretical skills, and preferably related to sectors of a certain regional advantage. For example, in Saranda might be of interest to develop educational or vocational training in specific areas like: tourism, gastronomy, courses on underwater activity, contraction and maintenance of vessels and shipboards, archaeology, history and tourism guiding, aquaculture, specialists for the cultivation of fish and mussels, specialist for the processing of wood etc. On the other hand, on a region with mountainous features like Kukes, the potential priorities for the setting of the institutions of vocational training might be: mountainous or rural tourism, alpine geography, specialists of wood processing, agro- business, veterinary technique, gastronomy and culinary services, environmental specialists etc.

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