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February, 2011

This paper is focused on the issue of labor market policies to improve employability of
workers. The paper starts with a brief explanation of the concept of employability in general, and
then continues with an overview of how employability policies work in different developed and
developing countries. However the major focus of the research relies on the employability
policies on Kosovo.


Employability is an issue that has been discussed intensively by policy makers in the recent
years. Although it has been defined differently by different people, the general meaning relies on
the ability of people not only to find a job, but to also be able to hold on to it and climb up the
hierarchies of organizations.

According to a research there are three components that determine the level of one‟s
employability. The three components are: individual factors, personal circumstances and demand
factors. Individual factors relate to personal skills and abilities that one has, educational and
experiential background and other personal characteristics such as health, well being and
adaptability. Personal circumstances refer to issues such as how responsible you are, if you
have a place to live and if you have means of transport to get to your workplace. Demand
factors refer to factors on a macroeconomic level. Such factors include labor market demand, the
scarcity of certain professions and surplus of others. Demand factors also relate to the
employment policies such as employment services and trainings. Accessibility of other public
services such as child care or public transportation are also demand factors that determine
employability level.
Employability policies refer to the regulations that the government makes to increase the
ability of prospective workers to get a job and to be able to keep their job place. Following we
will discuss some employability policies in the United Kingdom as a developed country and in
and later on we will focus on what is happening in Kosovo as far as this issue is concerned.



In order to make a better analysis of global labor policies, we are going to review the
policies of a sample developed country‟s policy, as well as a sample of a developing country.
The country we have chosen as our „case-study for a developed country‟ is the United Kingdom,
as one of the World‟s leading economies. Our Analysis is based on a report of the U.K.
Commission for Employment and Skills, called “Employability Skills: A Research and Policy
Briefing”, conducted in March 2010.During the last couple of years, research shows that the
importance of employability has grown in the areas of employment and the labor market in
general. The objective is to create a more demand-led system in the labor market through
interventions in the skills and employment system. The idea is to target specific groups based on
age, location, and employment status, by integrating programmes for the youth, unemployed
adults and adults in workforce in the U.K.. One of the main-routes to implement these
programmes is the Education System.

Labor Market Policies targeting the Educational Institutions’ Leavers

As it will be shown below, a study on youth and employment has concluded, that the
employer engagement and work experience a youth brings with him/her has a huge impact on
their employability:
„This is an issue on which there was almost complete unanimity between employers and
young people. Almost without exception, employers felt that young people who had undergone a
period of work experience while at school (either through formal programmes or through part-
time work) were better equipped than others for the world of work’ (Johnson and Burden, 2003,
p. viii).
The aim is to extend the students‟ duration in school (in 2013 until the age of 17, and
further in 2015 until the age of 18), in order to widen the students‟ skills and have more time to
enrich the study-plan with valuable employability skills. The core idea of this is for the students
to be provided with more work experience and employment opportunities by bring them together
with actual employers. These initiatives have been undertaken by the Department for Children,
Schools and Families (DCSF). New Diplomas for the 14 to 19 year olds have also been
introduced, with the innovation of employer-engagement in the diplomas qualifications design.
The impact of these reforms, however, are said to be too soon to evaluate, although there
apparently is evidence from studies of 2000 which support the undertaken reforms.

Labor Market Policies targeting the Unemployed

The advancement of employability of the unemployed people is just as important as with

the youth. The essence is not only to not let these people lose their skills, but also teach them
new ones. That is done by the U.K. government giving out „Skills Health Checks‟ which are tests
the unemployed are undertaken, in order to better understand what their employability level is,
and also fill the potential skill-gaps with recommended courses they would take. It also offers the
option of some kind of „testers‟ which help the unemployed seek out for job opportunities in new
industries for them, in which they show interest after having them introduced to them:
„the sustainability of employment is likely to improve substantially with better integration
between employment programmes and programmes for raising skills‟ (NAO, 2007, p11).
Several studies, dating from the 1970s to the 2000s ( as one from Nickson et al conducted
in 2003, O‟Connell and McGinnity in1997, as well as The National Research and Development
Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy, which has been conducting research studies since the
1970s) suggest that skill-improvement and job/industry testing are very successful tools to
increase the employability and overall employment in the country.
Labor Market Policies targeting the Present Labor-force

As mentioned above, studies have shown how important the role of employers in the
policy-making process is. As for the Present Labor-force‟s employability, special programmes
for both employers and employees help both parties extend their capacities and thereby fulfill
their future interests. The three main programmes that have been initiated to the employability-
increase of existing labor force are Skills Pledge, Unionlearn and Treain to Gain. Skills Pledge
programmes have been introduced in England and Wales to increase the participation and
commitment of employers to increase their employees‟ skills. Unionlearn is there to help union
representatives in raise their skills at the workplace.

In the last 3 years UK and Scotland have been implementing employability policies and
have been working in different aspects. These policies focus on making existing resources work
rather than searching for new ones, and special attention is given to a part of the younger
generation who are not employed nor having an education. Different organization have been
working in helping people increase their skills and capabilities such as Job Center Plus and
Workforce Plus. (


There are many countries throughout the world that are still struggling with
unemployment rates, which does seriously threaten their social and economic situation. Croatia
is one of those countries that its economy has been through a transitional process, especially
privatization. Therefore, labor market was affected by privatization, and thus made
unemployment a very important problem in the country for a whole decade. In 2002
unemployment rate in Croatia reached its peak to 14.8% or 389,741 persons unemployed. Even
though this unemployment rate has been dropping off in the last few years, still there is a risk
that the recent financial crisis can rise it up again. Similar to every other country with high
unemployment rate, unemployed people in Croatia are mostly those who have only a vocational
education, young people, people in the age of 50 and more and especially women. Although, the
employment rate has been slightly increasing through the last few years from 41.8% in 2001
increased to 44.2% in 2007 it is an insignificant difference to labor market.

Active Labor Market Policy Measures in Croatia

Struggling with unemployment for more than a decade, Croatia has experience in making
measures for reducing unemployment and increasing employment. These measures have been
created particularly for employment of groups like women, people that have low or are without
qualifications and for those who have limited working ability. Thus, this included creating new
easier jobs and creating 1 to 6 months vocational courses. Since these measures appeared to be
very successful, the Government was forced to put more effort on employment policies but
especially focusing on active measures. This strategy declared that active policy measures should
then be concentrated more in: developing the information level among unemployed and also
improve the level of communication and cooperation with employers so that they can be more
aware of workers needs; creating educational programs for employed and unemployed people;
putting vulnerable groups first such as women, invalids and youth; making public works for long
term unemployed people and low qualifications, etc.
Table 1 Persons employed by the ALMP measures (2006-2008)

MEASURES 2006 2007 2008

2006 2007 2008

Measure 1 1024 1226 1003

Measure 2 1238 1693 1290

Measure 3 579 837 706

Measure 4 268 455 351

Measure 5.1 13 85 88

Measure 5.2 362 707 1017

Measure 6 873 2960 2361

Measure 7 448 531 699

Measure 8 --- --- 16

These ALMP measures like training, assisting in
Total 4805 8494 7531
job searches, public employment, and subsidized
employment are extensively used in EU to fight unemployment. In 2005, the government hoping
to improve the results of previous programs of ALMP, created a “Croatian National Employment
Action Plan” in order to make programs or plans for annual employment.
The ALMP measures which covered 20.830 persons, noticed a change in the construction of
measures. This implies that the government of Croatia wanted to shift its attention to
employability instead of employment, which indicates that Croatia follows EU guidelines of the
Employment Strategy of Europe. Even though it was hard to correctly measure the impact of
ALMP in Croatia, ALMP can contribute in decreasing unemployment. Unemployment rate in
Croatia has been decreasing, but unemployment is still one of the main problems in its economy.
ALMP measures are mainly created to provide work for unemployed persons, which requires an
increase in job vacancies. Therefore, ALMP measures represent only one instrument in the
strategy of fighting unemployment.


As far as Kosovo is concerned the employability policies are a responsibility of the
Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. According to the Ministry‟s website it is their
responsibility to design and implement different strategies to help increase both employment and
the employability of workers in Kosovo.

However, in addition to the Ministry‟s activity there are also other Non-Governmental
Organizations who deal with increasing the employability of workers in general, and especially
the young ones, by implementing different programs and projects which will be revealed later on
in this paper.

Although the ministry of labor is doing something about this issue, their capacity is very
weak. According to a report they published, which reflects their performance during 2009, they
were able to improve the professional skills of only 308 unemployed citizens of Kosovo. If we
compare this number to the total number of unemployed people in Kosovo which was 335,260 in
December 2010, it is quite concerning considering that this was the only project implemented by
the ministry in that year. Also if we compare the employability policies that the Labor Ministry
of Kosovo implements to those of more developed countries they are almost insignificant.()

However, the activities of NGO‟s are a bit more promising as they are implementing
much more projects and achieving greater results. Following we will discuss about the activity of
an NGO that deals with employability issues in the Balkans.

NGO’s Work in Improving Employability of Young Workers in Kosovo

Although it is the Ministry of Labor‟s responsibility to create policies that are supposed
to improve the employability of workers in Kosovo, there are also Non Governmental
Organizations that through implementing different programs contribute to the creation of a better
perspective of employment for prospective employees.

One example of such an NGO is the „Balkan Children and Youth Foundation‟, here and
after referred to as BCYF, which is concerned with increasing young people‟s chances of getting
employed, developing their technological skills, develop them in the areas of non-formal
education and contribute to democracy building. The organization has been implementing
programs both in Kosovo and Macedonia and the results of the programs were quite satisfying.

As it is stated in a report published by the BCYF, a great concern for the regional youth is
their small opportunities of getting a job, consequently leading to young people being dependant
of their families for a longer time and not having a full freedom of choice about their lives.
Youth unemployment combined with government corruption and personal and political
uncertainty about the future lead to a depressed young generation. To prevent this BCYF has
developed its program which is supposed to give young people the skills and abilities to increase
their opportunities of finding a job. The four projects that were sponsored by BCYF in Kosovo
 „Organization Student‟s Cooperative‟ which was a project that was aimed at training
young people in business and administrative areas an employing them at some major
corporations in Kosovo
 „Kosova Youth Network‟ which dealt with establishing student internships at local SMEs
in Kosovo
 „The Council of Kosovo Bosnjak Intellectuals‟ which came from an ethnic minority
group and dealt with training and employing young people in Prizren
 „SHL Kosovo‟ which created the project of growing youth business for a better future.

As a result of these projects there were many young people who got full time employment
and many other who got into internships or at least got better chances of getting a job.