About the ILO in Slovakia

Rapid progress with improved employment outcomes faces recent slow down

After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia into its two constituent parts in 1993, the Slovak Republic witnessed considerable catch-up growth relative to EU average. GDP per capita more than doubled and reached 69 per cent of the EU average in 2021. Growth has been driven by a strong inflow of foreign direct investment facilitated by relatively low wages, skilled labour, and the proximity to Western Europe. The rapid transformation led to EU membership in 2004 and the classification as a high-income country in 2007. With EU funds, Slovakia is supporting the country’s green and digital transitions. Improved labour market outcomes have led to substantial reductions of at-risk-of-poverty and social exclusion rates, where Slovakia performs better than the EU average (15.6 per cent as compared with EU27 21.7 per cent).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment rose to 6.7 per cent in 2020, 6.8 per cent in 2021 but stabilized to 6.1 per cent in 2022. The employment rate fell from 74.6 per cent in 2019 to 73.8 per cent in 2020. But the labour market recovered quickly from the pandemic, as evidenced by a steady increase in employment rate at 75.0 per cent in 2021 and 76.2 per cent in 2022. Public job retention schemes played an important role. Fiscal stimulus measures in 2020 amounted to 5.1 per cent of GDP, with additional spending in the following years.

After a 3.4 per cent decline in the pandemic year of 2020, the real GDP growth caught up by 3.0 per cent in 2021 but slowed down at 1.7 per cent in 2022 and a recession is expected in 2023. Also, as fallouts of the war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures are rising which recorded 12.1 per cent in 2022.

After fast progress in catching up with the EU, Slovakia’s convergence slowed down in recent years. The country faces medium to long term structural challenges, including relatively high youth unemployment (19.9 per cent compared with EU27: 14.5 per cent in 2022), one of the highest shares of long-term unemployed in EU (55.6 per cent of all unemployed in 2020), low labour market participation of disadvantaged groups (especially Roma), persisting gender disparities in the labour market with a gender pay gap of 15.8 per cent in 2020 (EU27: 14 per cent) and a low female participation rate, and labour shortages in some sectors, especially in the booming regions of Western Slovakia.

The ILO in the Slovak Republic

Czechoslovakia was one of the founding members of the ILO in 1919. After the break-up of the country in 1993, the Slovak Republic became an ILO member state in the same year.

The ILO has assisted the Slovak Republic in its economic and labour market transformation and in its accession to the EU in 2004. Since then, the ILO has not maintained a permanent presence in the country.

Text last edited May 2023