Youth employment

Promoting decent work opportunities for Roma Youth in Central and Eastern Europe

The projects will contribute to the better labour market inclusion of Roma people by collecting and adapting ILO tools and solutions to the particular needs of young Roma women and men and by organizing an effective outreach to relevant decision makers and stakeholders.


The rate of youth unemployment, informal employment and social vulnerability are highest among the Roma population in Central and Eastern Europe, which has been historically confronted with economic, social and cultural marginalization and discrimination. There are more than ten million European Roma, mostly concentrated in the Balkans and in the European Union’s newest member states, especially Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Hungary. Roma represent more than 20 per cent of new entrants into the labour force in the above mentioned countries.

Roma young people are trapped in a circle of marginalization and poverty that leads them through high dropout rates in education, child labour, low skills acquisition, difficulty to access and to stay in the labour market, low pay, stereotyping and stigmatization that further push them to the margin of economic activities.

Main objectives

The ILO has longstanding experience in promoting employment, as well as addressing discrimination and the social and economic vulnerability of individuals and groups at a disadvantage in the labour market. The project extends this experience of the labour market inclusion of the Roma population. Over the course of the project, the ILO intends to produce a Resource Guide on employment promotion for Roma youth. It will include technical briefs on:
  • Legal instruments and approaches to discrimination
  • Social security and decent work
  • Skills development and the school-to-work transition
  • Active labour market policies and employment services
  • Entrepreneurship promotion and the green economy
  • Social partners and social dialogue on Roma youth employment
A network of experts from relevant international and regional organizations, national institutions, tripartite constituents, non-governmental organizations and Roma organizations and community leaders is formed that contributed to the development of the Resource Guide. The draft guide was validated at a subregional meeting in May 2016 and finalized thereafter.

A range of dissemination and outreach activities are planned on the basis of the Resource Guide: An infographic and a digital version of the Resource Guide will be produced, the Resource Guide will be translated into Hungarian, and a training of young Roma leaders in Hungary on the basis of the Guide is planned. Further follow-up projects will be developed in the subregion. Using synergies with additional projects implemented by the ILO in the region, the Resource Guide will also be translated into Romanian, Montenegrin/Serbian and potentially Albanian, and additional follow-up interventions will be implemented.

The direct recipients are decision-makers and staff of national and international institutions involved in the formulation and implementation of Roma education and employment policies and programmes, as well as the social partners (staff of employers’ and workers’ organizations) and Roma organizations.

The ultimate beneficiaries are young Roma women and men between the ages of 15-29 who would benefit from integrated, more effective and engendered policy responses as well as targeting mechanisms addressing their labour market integration. Targeted policies and programmes will be promoted to enhance employability and improve employment prospects of Roma youth with a focus on low-skilled youth and school dropouts, young workers in the informal economy and youth in poor communities.