Active labour market policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Neglected development potential


Fra Filipa Lastrića 2

Analitika - Center for Social Research has organized a roundtable “Active labor market policies in Bosnia Herzegovina - Neglected development potential” in Sarajevo on 18th of October 2016, which brought together representatives of relevant institutions and organization in the field of labor and employment. The aim of this round table was to open a discussion on the need to improve institutional framework and design of active labor market policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to question the need for improvement of certain aspects of this policy in order to realize their full potential in the BiH labor market.

Introductory presentation were held by Amar Numanović, a researcher in the field of social policies and labor market of the Center for Social Research Analitika, Haris Huskić, Head of the Labor Market Department at the Federal Employment Service, and Ranko Markuš, Director of GOPA in BiH and Head of Swiss Youth Employment Project (YEP). After the presentations, fruitful discussion with  with participants was opened.

Key conclusions of the round table were:

  • The effects of the existing program of active labor market policies are not fully known, considering that the current mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of these measures, carried out by public employment services, measure the effects of the program at the level of outcomes (number of employees through programs at the expiration of the grant contract), but not the level of long-term impact on the BiH labor market. The lack of data in this area hinders the adoption of specific proposals for the improvement of the design of active labor market policies in BiH. 
  • Measures of employment and self-employment subsidies, dominate among the existing active labor market policies in BiH while insufficient attention was paid to measures of training and counseling to the unemployed persons, and measures that aim to increase the competitiveness and prospect of the unemployed in the labor market. At the same time, counseling services were rated as highly effective, given the previous experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina, having in mind that these measures do not require a greater financial investment while, on the other hand, they provide good results in terms of employment and (re)integration on the labor market.
  • Existing funding of active labor market policies should be improved, while spending on active measures should be made more efficient trhough redesign of the active labor market policies and by putting the focus on those measures that are more cost effective and provide good and long-term results in terms of employment.
  • It is needed for the  existing, dominantly reactive and ad hoc approach to employment, to be replaced with the long-term and strategic approach.
  • In order for the active labor market polices to be  effectively implemented, it is necessary to reform and improve the performance and capacities of public employment services. Accordingly, it is particularly important  to streghten human and technical capacities for the implementation of counseling services and career guidance, which would enable better and and more targeted involvement of the unemployed in active labor market  policies.
  • The improvement of the insistutional framework and design of active labor market policies must be accompanied by structural reforms, improvement of the business environment and adequate macro-economic measures, in order for the  active labor market policies to achieve its essential role in the labor market. In this regard, the active laobur market policies cannot replace or substitute for the necessary economic reforms in terms of reducing unemployment.

Participants of the event agreed that government and authorities in BiH should pay more attention to improvement and development of active labor market policies in the coming period, but also that it is necessary to continue and intensify the broader public debate on this topic. Additionaly, the need for providing reliable and detailed findings on different aspect of employment policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina through future research and analytical work, which would enable defining precise and adequate solutions, was also emphasized

Center for Social Research Analitika organized roundtable within the project: „Challenging unemployment in the Western Balkans: Enhancing active labor market policies in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia“, which is financially supported by the European Fund for the Balkans.

Themes: Policy AnalysisUprava i usluge
Programmes: Javna uprava