Living and working in Serbia

05 June 2018

  •   Population: 7 million (2017)
  •   Real GDP growth: 2.8% (2016)

Data source: Eurostat

Eurofound provides research, data and analysis on a wide range of social and work-related topics. This information is largely comparative, but also offers country-specific information for potential candidate countries.

Eurofound seeks to strengthen the ongoing link between its own work and national policy debates and priorities related to the quality of life and work – in Member States and in potential candidate countries. The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance programme 2014–2020 is an important tool that supports these countries in better preparing the implementation of public administration reforms, improving their economies and achieving the objectives set during the reform process. In this context, Eurofound country profiles offer a wealth of information on key components of working life in the enlargement countries.

    2015 Eurofound EWCS survey results in Serbia: 36% of people consider their job affecting their health negatively

    Living in Serbia

    Quality of life

    Quality of life

    Findings from Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) show that many of the quality of life indicators are lower in Serbia than on average in the EU28. For instance, the WHO-5 Mental Well-being Index was lowest in Serbia among all the surveyed countries in the EQLS, at 52 in 2016 versus an EU28 average of 64 (on a scale of 1–100). However, 68% of respondents in Serbia were optimistic about their children’s or grandchildren’s futures in 2016, a significantly larger share than the EU28 average of 57%.

    The share of respondents reporting difficulties in making ends meet has decreased in Serbia from 75% in 2011 to 69% in 2016. However, this is still significantly higher than the EU28 average of 39% in 2016. Furthermore, the share of respondents reporting that they felt free to decide how to live their lives has decreased in Serbia from 36% in 2011 to 23% in 2016, falling slightly below the respective EU28 average of 26%.

      2003200720112016
    Life satisfactionMean (1-10)--6.36.3
    Taking all things together on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy would you say you are?Mean (1-10)--7.17.0
    Optimism about own futureAgree & strongly agree---58%
    Optimism about children’s or grandchildren’s futureAgree & strongly agree---68%
    Take part in sports or physical exerciseAt least once a week--20%19%
    In general, how is your health?Very good--31%26%
    WHO-5 mental wellbeing indexMean (1-100)--5452
    Making ends meetWith some difficulty, difficulty, and great difficulty--75%69%
    I feel I am free to decide how to live my lifeStrongly agree--36%23%
    I find it difficult to deal with important problems that come up in my lifeAgree & strongly agree---31%
    When things go wrong in my life, it generally takes me a long time to get back to normalAgree & strongly agree---28%

    Work-life balance

    Work-life balance

    The frequency of work–life balance problems in Serbia is higher than on average in the EU. For instance, in 2016, 83% of respondents in Serbia were too tired from work to do household jobs at least several times a month, which was much higher than the EU28 average of 59%. This was also the highest share among all the surveyed countries in the EQLS. Additionally, 66% of respondents in Serbia had difficulties to fulfil family responsibilities because of work at least several times a month in 2016, again a much larger share than the EU average of 38%.The least common work–life balance problem was having difficulties to concentrate at work because of family responsibilities, reported by 52% of respondents in Serbia in 2016, far above the EU28 average of 19%. When looking at the breakdowns by gender, it can be observed that the frequency of work–life balance problems is similar among men and women.

      2003200720112016
    (At least several times a month)   
    I have come home from work too tired to do some of the household jobs which need to be doneTotal--79%83%
    Men--75%83%
    Women--83%82%
          
    It has been difficult for me to fulfil my family responsibilities because of the amount of time I spend on the jobTotal--50%66%
    Men--49%68%
    Women--52%65%
          
    I have found it difficult to concentrate at work because of my family responsibilitiesTotal--26%52%
    Men--24%49%
    Women--29%55%

    Quality of society

    Quality of society

    The Social Exclusion Index is on average higher in Serbia than in the EU28. In 2016, Serbia had a Social Exclusion Index score of 2.5, versus the lower 2.1 in the EU28 (on a scale of 1–5 where a lower value means a lower incidence of social exclusion). Similarly, average trust in people in Serbia was lower than the EU28 average in 2016, at 4.4 compared to 5.2 (on a scale of 1–10).

    However, perceived tensions between different racial and ethnic groups are lower in Serbia than on average in the EU. In Serbia, 23% of respondents reported a lot of this type of tension in 2016, compared with 41% in the EU28.

      2003200720112016
    Social exclusion indexMean (1-5)--2.52.5
    Trust in peopleMean (1-10)--4.64.4
    Involvement in unpaid voluntary work% "at least once a month"--3%5%
    Tension between poor and rich people% reporting 'a lot of tension'--0.536%
    Tension between different racial and ethnic groups% reporting 'a lot of tension'--0.323%
    I feel safe when I walk alone after darkStrongly agree---32%

    Quality of public services

    Quality of public services

    Quality ratings for seven public services

    Note: scale of 1-10, Source: EQLS 2016.

    In Serbia, the perceived quality of all seven public services examined in the EQLS are slightly below the EU28 averages. The education system in Serbia received the highest quality rating of 6.4 in 2016 (on a scale of 1–10). On the contrary, state pension system in Serbia received the lowest quality rating of 4.8 in 2016.

    When looking at the change over time, many public services have improved their quality ratings between 2011 and 2016 in Serbia. For example, the perceived quality of social housing increased from 3.6 in 2011 to 4.9 in 2016. Similarly, the perceived quality of health services increased from 5.1 in 2011 to 6.0 in 2016.

      2003200720112016
    Health servicesMean (1-10)--5.16.0
    Education systemMean (1-10)--5.66.4
    Public transportMean (1-10)--5.96.1
    Childcare servicesMean (1-10)--6.16.2
    Long-term care servicesMean (1-10)--5.05.4
    Social housingMean (1-10)--3.64.9
    State pension systemMean (1-10)--4.24.8

    Working life in Serbia

    Working life profile

    Working life profile

    Eurofound is currently working on a new working life profile for Serbia. It will be a comprehensive update on industrial relations and working conditions, aiming to provide the relevant background information on the structures, institutions and regulations related to working life. This includes indicators, data and regulatory systems on the following aspects: actors and institutions, collective and individual employment relations, health and well-being, pay, working time, skills and training, and equality and non-discrimination at work. 

    Meanwhile, the previous industrial profile for Serbia is available for download.

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