Jobs Wanted: Youth in Southeast Europe

21  October 2013    8:45 am CEST

A high-level Policy Dialogue organized by wiiw, the World Bank, the Austrian Ministry of Finance (BMF) and the Global Development Network (GDN)


World Bank Office Vienna, Praterstrasse 31, 1020 Vienna, 21st floor


This event has been co-organised by wiiw, World Bank, Global Development Network and Austrian Ministry of Finance.

Poor employment outcomes have been characteristic of most Southeast European economies since the beginning of transition and, to some extent, even earlier. The financial and economic crisis has further worsened the situation so that unemployment - especially among youth - has reached alarming levels in the region.

The labour market situation of young people is characterised by involuntary unemployment, underemployment, inactivity and discouragement. A major feature of youth unemployment is the high proportion of long-term unemployed. When they do find jobs, the majority of young people are left with precarious jobs (part-time, temporary) or informal sector employment, leaving them excluded from benefit systems. Thus, for a high share of young people emigration is the preferred way out.

This situation has been studied in detail by experts from the region as well as by international institutions. Several interesting national programmes have been designed. Yet, so far, data have not shown significant improvements.

Given the significance of these issues, the World Bank (WB), The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) and the Global Development Network (GDN) have chosen youth employment as the focus of this policy dialogue. The dialogue aims at taking stock of what has been done in the area of youth employment, discuss policies that have been successful and those that have failed, and outline the areas where further analysis, policy development and action are needed.

The policy dialogue should, in particular, provide a possibility for an exchange of views and open discussion between international and national experts and national policy makers. We have, therefore, invited policy makers from the region, experts from multilateral organizations and academic institutions to discuss their views of major policy challenges, best practices and the potential for improving policy coordination.

The format of the dialogue is designed to encourage an open discussion. Each session will start with a brief keynote presentation (15 min.) introducing major issues, to be followed by very short statements (5 min.) of appointed discussants (experts and policy makers) and a plenary discussion.