Monitoring and Assessing Labor Markets in the Western Balkans

Client/Funding Institution

The World Bank


Western Balkan economies have persistently performed poorer than their peers from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe. One area where they have been particularly weak is the labor market. In 2021, none of them had an unemployment rate below 10%. In addition, the countries face a pronounced gender gap, high informality, low salaries, with very high rates of poverty among the employed. A massive emigration causes a continuous shrinking of the labor force. On top of these challenges, reliable, consistent, detailed and comparable labor market indicators are missing. For that reason, the World Bank initiated a joint project with the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) which aimed to develop a unique and freely available labour market database. It was also the basis for a joint annual Western Balkans Labor Market Trends Reports that analysed and highlighting key labour market developments in the region. The project was entitled SEE Jobs Gateway and lasted from 2016 to 2020. The key project outcomes are still accessible via the wiiw website. The current project aims to produce annual updates of the labour market database as well as its extension into several new directions. Annual Labour Market Briefs will feature specific topics, such as employment in new foreign direct investment projects, employment by occupations, labour taxation or migration. The complementary activities aim to encourage the wider academic and political community to target their analysis and measures and to engage in an informed debate within the region, the international academic and donor communities.


June 2022 - November 2024

wiiw team Leader

Branimir Jovanović

wiiw Staff

Veronika Janyrova, Beate Muck, Monika Schwarzhappel, Galina Vasaros, Hermine Vidovic, David Zenz

Open Data

External Publications

Western Balkans Labor Market Brief 2021
SEE Jobs Gateway 2016-2020

Related News

Countries covered: SEE

Research Areas: Labour, Migration and Income Distribution