Serbia: Support to National Efforts for the Promotion of Youth Employment and Management of Migration


Young people in Serbia face dismal job prospects -- nearly half of all youth were unemployed when the Joint Programme began in 2009. The programme worked with the government to increase youth employment, especially for disadvantaged young women and men and members of the Roma minority, while concurrently reducing the negative impact of return and irregular migration.

Interventions were implemented in the South Backa, Belgrade and Pcinjski Districts and focused on:

  1. Developing evidence-based policies on youth employment and migration;
  2. Strengthening the capacity of national institutions to design integrated labour market and social services that are aligned with policy objectives; and
  3. Supporting local institutions to pilot innovative employment programmes and social services.

The JP targeted disadvantaged young women and men, especially young Roma returning to Serbia under readmission agreements, as well as those at risk of social exclusion who were prime candidates for emigration.

Main achievements included:

  • The Youth Employment Fund (YEF) - established through a technical assistance package of the ILO – was further strengthened to provide active labour market programmes for youth 15-29 years of age. The Fund offered individualized assistance, off- and on-the-job training, a self-employment programme and a programme for young people with disabilities.
  • More than 2,800 disadvantaged young men and women  (49% and 51%, respectively) took part in vocational training and job placement. Some 89% of beneficiaries had a primary education or less; 64%  were long-term unemployed; 69% had no prior work experience; 15% were Roma, 6% were youth with disabilities and 8% were young beneficiaries of social assistance.
  • 15 new indicators were established in the areas of employment, social protection and labour migration. The programme helped to shape a new national strategy for employment and produced the first white paper for labour migration in Serbia.
  • 22 employment councils assisted in completing local action plans for youth employment. Employment Infopoints were used by over 5,000 youth. More than 450 case managers and supervisors were trained to deliver targeted youth employment services. 
  • The number of youth aged 15-29 who were registered as unemployed dropped 5% in the project areas, and the proportion of disadvantaged youth who were registered dropped by almost 25 %. By comparison, in neighbouring Districts, the respective shares increased by more than 6% and 25%.
  • The job placement rate at follow-up was 24.4% for on-the-job training courses, 74.3% for self-employment and 97.6% per cent for programmes targeting young people with disabilities.
  • More than 90% of programme beneficiaries had earnings above the minimum wage.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in Serbia.



The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 15 May 2009 - 15 May 2012
Net funded amount $6,140,606
Participating UN agencies ILO, IOM, UNDP, UNICEF
National partners Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, National Employment Service, Centre for Social Work, Republic Statistical Office
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