Bad perspectives of youth in employment, abundant space for improvement with all actors

Citizens of Montenegro in majority assess that young people are in bad position when it comes to employment, as findings of research of the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) point out, which was conducted within the project ‘Knowledge and Skills for Job!’, with the aim to shed light on perception of position of youth and challenges which they are facing in the process of employment, but also a space for improvement of the existing state of affairs.

Namely, over ¾ of respondents (76%) estimates that status of youth concerning employment is rather or mostly bad, while only 2% considers that their position is in this regard rather good. Prevailing position is that situation in regards to employment has deteriorated in last five years, i.e. 45% of respondents believes so, with 33% thinking it is stagnating, while 17% assesses that there was progress, whereby citizens with basic or lower education express larger pessimism than others. Expectations that the process of European integration will lead to improvement of situation in the area of employment are by percent larger and present with 43% respondents, while 31% believes that it will remain the same, and 17% even believes it will deteriorate.

Connections and acquaintances are in the perception of citizens still the most important criterion on the basis of which employers hire, and only after it follow education references and competences. Assessments of preparedness of employers to employ young people are divided, and as causes of employers’ closeness to youth the most frequently are as follows: lack of work experience, mistrust of employers in capacities of youth, frivolity and insufficient dedication of youth, but also situation in the society such as lack of available work places, general crisis and highlighted phenomenon of employing on the basis of connections and political affiliation. Furthermore, citizens dominantly believe that state and state institutions are not doing enough to help young people during employment, while it is severe division per opinion on succesfulness of the vocational training of Government of Montenegro. Familiarity with institutions which conduct programmes of vocational training or professional counseling is generally low, and majority of citizens does not know of even one institution which conducts a programme of professional/career counseling.

Also, it is predominant impression that youth prefer employment in the state sector, i.e. such opinion has 60% of respondents, while 16% respondents believe that it is private sector and self-employment respectively. More than half of citizens estimates that youth are ready even to pre-qualify if it will allow them to find job faster. Opinions are divided also about existence of possibilities for youth to volunteer and acquire practical experiences before employment, but also preparedness of youth to utilize such possibilities.

Majority of citizens (64%) did not have cooperation with Employment Agency of Montenegro while searching for job, but those who have, state in majority that they did not manage to acquire job through mediation of this institution, although they point out that in majority this cooperation was positive. A rather small number of citizens (only 5%) has been searching for job via contact with non-governmental organizations, and over a half of them managed to get employed, and are expressing cooperation with NGOs in this regard to be satisfactory. However, career development centres have not been contacted by or sought cooperation of by almost none of interviewed citizens, and rare of those who did, have not managed to get employed and assess communication and cooperation with it as bad.

In order to encourage young people to launch a personal business the majority of citizens estimates that it is necessary to ensure more favorable loans, exemptions and support of the state, but they also state the change of state of mind of youth who should be more initiative in searching for job and self-employment as important. Citizens, over 70% have opinion that youth would be prepared to go to other state because of employment, and most frequently in Germany and USA, and in countries of Western Europe in general.

It is encouraging data that the largest portion of citizens of Montenegro state that they have chose the profession they are engaged in because of the love for it or interest for it, while only every twentieth one states that during selection of profession he/she was guided by criteria of possibility of emploment. Also, more than a half of citizens states that, if they could choose, they would choose the same profession again.

Opinion on how well does the formal education prepare youth for employment is divided, and the largest number of citizens estimates that formal system does not provide practical knowledge necessary for successful inclusion on labour market, or key skills such as knowledge of foreign languages and IT knowledge. Thus, precisely introduction of larger number of subjects offerring practical work and practical knowledge are being stated as prefered reforms of educational system, with additional courses of foreign languages. Furthermore, citizens believe that education should be significanlty improved also for the so called soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving skills and decision-making, skills of confidence building but also skills of active job searching and career development, as well as entrepreneur knowledge and skills. However, over 50% of respondents can not state which skills and knowledge are relevant for successful search for job on the ever so competitive contemporary labour market.

According to opinion of citizens, educational institutions provide more quality education than private ones (65%), 22% estimates that state and private ones are equally well preparing youth for labour market, while only 8% of respondents favours private educational institutions. Interviewed citizens estimate that youth are ready to invest additional effort in attending training in order to find job easier.

Field research for the needs of CCE has been conducted by the agency IPSOS Strategic Marketing on the sample of 1121 respondents aged 15 and more.

Project ‘Knowledge and skills for job!’ was conducted by CCE in cooperation with Represent Communications, and was financed by the European Union in Montenegro, through Directorate for Financing and Contracting EU Assistance in the Ministry of Finance (CFCU). Project is supported within the donors programme ‘Youth, Women and Long-term Unemployed in the Labour Market’, via wider framework of Active Labour Measures for Employment (Human Resources Development operational programme 2012-2013), which main beneficiary is Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. Project was co-financed by the Commission for Allocation of Part of Revenues from Games of Chance of the Government of Montenegro.

Petar Djukanovic, programme coordinator