The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

ILO project – Social dialogue and capacity building for effective youth employment solutions in Macedonia

The project seeks to enhance the capacity of both the government and local social partners to respond to the new and urgent labour market needs of the Macedonian youth and to play a strategic role in the design and application of new public programmes for more and better jobs for youth.


With one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world and extremely low employment rates among youth, the urgency of addressing the issue of youth employment in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is greater than in many other countries. The Government is aware of the urgency and treats youth employment as a crosscutting theme in the policy-making process.

The costs of the ineffective transition of young people from education to the labour market are high; there are economic costs in terms of lost investments in education, a reduced tax base and high social costs. But perhaps of greater importance are the costs to the young persons themselves.

Using the latest School to Work Transition Survey (SWTS) data, about one third (31.9 per cent) of young people in the FYR of Macedonia in 2014 were neither employed nor in education or training (NEET). Most of the NEETs are unemployed. These young people are likely to experience a loss of their human capital (accumulated during the education) which has negative consequences and high costs both for the individuals and for the society. The share of unemployed youth in the total population – 22.8 per cent – is well above that of other countries where the SWTSs were implemented by the ILO. This is more so in rural areas, which calls for adequate youth employment solutions for specific groups and specific geographic areas.

Already, the Macedonian Action Plan on Youth identifies the issues of improving the skills that the young population have versus market requirements, and also to ease the transition of youth to the world of work.

At the same time, the ILO is implementing, through a delegation agreement related to IPA funds from the EU, a project on strengthening Social Dialogue, which has helped in setting up Local Economic and Social Councils.

As a form of participatory democracy, tripartite Local Economic and Social Councils (LESC's) are meant to voice the interests of the actors in the labour market and to express them in recommendations on economic and social matters. With the ILO technical assistance, three local councils are already established and three more are in process of forming. .


The present project aims to improve not only youth employment outcomes, but also the effectiveness and impact of LESCs through increasing technical capacity of their members and technical secretariats to provide high-quality recommendations and participate in developing and monitoring of labour market measures.

As result, Local Economic and Social Councils will participate in establishing pilot programmes that would be scaled up, their capacities will be improved to promote rights at work and the quality of employment, and, at a central level, support the development of an occupational outlook.

The selection of the LESC's will be done based on the expressed interests of the LESC and on agreements between the local employment centres, municipalities, employers’ and workers’ organizations to jointly work on the project.


These two main areas of support will be carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MoSP) and the National Employment Agency (NEA), but also with municipalities and their local LESC’s.