Slovenia: Working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Job quality,
  • Published on: 19 Gruodis 2013



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Young people in Slovenia ever more decide to continue with their studies, so they enter the labour market late. Experience in the Slovene labour market indicate, that age group for young should be extended up to 34 years. The latest data shows, that 70% of young aged 20-34 years were in 2012 employed, but their situation in the labour market is deteriorating and most of them have only three choices; to become unemployed, self-employed or to continue with their studies and work through student services.

Introduction

This EWCO CAR is specifically focused on the group of “young entrants to the labour market”. This group includes all young people (between 15 and 30 years old) who have recently entered into the labour market (i.e., people with a work experience shorter than 1-2 years in the labour market), with relative independence of their age and for whom work is their main and core activity. This definition excludes young people for whom studies are their main activity but who combine their studies with some remunerated activity as part of their training programmes (e.g. apprenticeships in dual systems), as well as unemployed young people, even if they are actively looking for a job (see Background note for more detailed information on the concept of young entrants to be considered in the research).

The CAR coordinating team is conscious that such as “narrow” definition of “young entrants to the labour market” can make difficult the identification and collection of relevant information on the topic. Therefore, and in the case no national information is available using this “narrow” definition, National Correspondents can use a “proxy” definition of “young entrant to the labour market” as any young person (i.e. between 15 and 30 years old) who is in employment, irrespectively of the number of years of experience that he/she has in the labour market (again, unemployed young people are excluded from the analysis).

The questionnaire focuses on the following topics:

  • General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups (around 700 words)

  • Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country (around 600 words)

  • Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis (around 500 words)

  • Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market (around 500 words)

  • Final commentary on the main results (around 100 words)

Block 1: General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups

1.1 Career and employment security issues

There are no specific data available regarding working conditions of young entrants with 1-2 years of experiences, but rather the situation at the labour market for young in general. But there exist also several definitions of the term "young" in Slovenia, mostly in terms of 15-19 years or 15-24 years, 20-24 years, 25-29 years and the latest group of 20-34 years, but statistical data is not always available for all age groups of young people.

The latest results of the Labour Force Survey (SORS, 2012) for young aged 20-34 years show that 294,000 of young people were in 2012 employed, 40,000 were unemployed and 82,000 of young were inactive. Among the young working population, 85.3% were in one form of employment, 7.4% were self-employed and 7.3% worked via student services. If we look at the age groups of young more specifically, 95% of young people aged 15-19 were in education, while 46% of young aged 20-24 and 75% of young aged 25-29 were in employment.

More than 70% of young (20-34 years) were in 2012 employed for a permanent period of time, but they are often offered atypical forms of employment, so 16.7% of young (20-34 years) worked for a fixed period of time and 12% on a part-time basis, which is slightly more than the average in comparison to the total population in employment. Among the occupations performed by young people, the most typical is a 'salesperson' for women and a 'checker' for men.

A large number of young (21,000) that could be regularly employed worked in 2012 through student services, 27% of them for full-time, which indicates that student work presents a surrogate of regular employment for a young population. At the same time, the number of self-employed young (20-34 years) is increasing and in the spring 2012 reached 22,000.

1.2 Skills development

More and more young people continue their studies to achieve higher education, but this is more due to the lack of employment opportunities at the labour market. In the period 2000-2011, the share of young (25-29 years) who were in education increased from 23% to 37% and most of them (56%) achieved university education or more. But a higher level of education makes young people even less employable, since they are too expensive for the employers (Lavrič et al. 2010).

Results of the international comparative study on human resources management CRANET for 2008 show, that 30.9% of large Slovenian organisations (with 200 and more employees) implemented measures for recruiting young workers, 38.2% of large companies had trainings for young workers and 28.8% introduced advancement in career for young workers. Cranet research has been conducted for over 20 years and is coordinated by the Cranfield University, School of Management, Great Britain. The aim of this study is to observe HRM in organizations from longitudinal internationally comparative perspective. In 2001, Slovenia joined more than 40 European and other countries that had participated in the study. The first research was conducted by the Organizations and Human Resources Research Centre, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. In 2008, the research was conducted for the third time and 219 organizations participated.

1.3 Health and well being

Young (15-24 years) at the labour market in Slovenia are more often than other age groups characterized by flexible forms of employment, such as work in shifts, work over the weekend and work in the evening. National research "Youth 2010", carried out by the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth (URSM) and Faculty of Arts at the University of Maribor in 2010, presents an extensive research on the living and working situation of young in Slovenia and covers a representative population of 1,257 young people aged between 15-29 years. The results reveal that young employees are more often than other employees in Slovenia and EU 27 exposed to job intensity. Results show that 41% of young in 2009 worked in shifts, which is higher compared to the Slovenian average of all employees aged 15-64 years (32%) and EU 27 average of young aged 15-24 (18%). The share of young who work over the weekend in Slovenia, 65% work on Saturday and 40% work on Sunday, is also higher than the national average, where 60% of employees work on Saturday and 32% on Sunday and EU 27 average, where 51% of young work on Saturday and 29% work on Sunday. Young in Slovenia are disadvantaged also regarding evening work (48%), which is again higher compared to the national average (46%) and EU 27 average of young employees (37%).

1.4 Reconciliation of working and non-working life

According to the research "Youth 2010", the majority of young aged 15-29 years are satisfied with their work (80%), but there is a slight difference in favour of regularly employed young compared to the part-time employed. Young with permanent employment (58%) are also more challenged at work compared to part-time employed (45%) and feel good in their work team (60% vs. 57%). Young evaluate interesting work, pay and security of the employment (especially young women) as most important, while they find the ability to set own working time arrangements and to help others as least important parts of work.

Block 2: Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country

NCs are kindly requested to provide the most updated information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national researches/studies) on differences of working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market, for a series of variables. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

2.1 Personal characteristics of young entrants

Working conditions are worse for younger entrants to the labour market aged 15-24, since the number of permanent contracts for this age group in the period 2005-2010 decreased from 37.3% to 30.4%, while the number of temporary contracts increased from 62.7% to 69.6%, especially regarding employment for a short working time (from 22.3% to 33.2%).

According to the results of the national research "Youth 2010", young men (15-29 years) receive higher payment than young women, especially when they are temporary employed or self-employed. Young women are also more often than men employed for a fixed period of time (74.2% vs. 58.6%).

Trade union for students and youth under the age of 35, "Young plus" (Mladi plus), at the Association of Free Trade Unions (ZSSS) organized end of March 2013 and in coordination with the youth organisation ŠKUC a press conference titled "Discrimination of young women in the employment", where the secretary of the Young plus union revealed that young women are still being discriminated when applying for a job. Employers still prefer to employ young men over young women because of the family obligations, while young women are still being asked by their marital status, the number of children they already have and family plans for the future.

2.2 Occupational characteristics

No data available.

Block 3: Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis

NCs are kindly requested to provide information on the following items: NCs are kindly requested to provide information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national researches/studies) on differences of working conditions amongst the group of young entrants to the labour market in comparison to the situation five years ago. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

Suggested extension of this section: around 500 words

3.1 Please provide information on the evolution of working conditions of young labour entrants in the last five years. Have working conditions of this group improved/deteriorated in comparison to the existing situation five years ago (before the economic crisis began)? What are the reasons for these changes

The situation regarding employment for young (15-24 years) in the period from 2005 to 2008 looked promising, since the number of young employed increased from 45,522 to almost 50,000 persons. In 2009 and 2010, the situation for young deteriorated and in 2010 there were only 35,307 young employed. In the past four years, the overall youth unemployment rate (15-24 years) increased from 9.3% in the 2nd quarter of 2008 to 15.8% in the 2nd quarter of 2010 (SORS, 2010). Among 69,000 young in different forms of employment, only 52% were in regular employment, 45% of young worked via student employment agencies and 3% in other forms of employment. The number of fixed-term contracts increased in period 2005-2010 from 62.7% to 69.6% (Svetin, Lah, 2011), while the share of young part-time employed increased in period 2005-2010 from 30% to 36.6%.

When we look at the situation of young aged 15-29 years for period 2000-2010, we see similar results of deteriorated conditions in the labour market. Data from the research "Youth 2010" shows that the share of full-time employed young decreased from 43.8% to 28.5% and the share of part time employed increased from 1.9% to 2.3%. The share of regularly employed young on a fixed-term basis decreased from 17.7% to 14.1% and the share of regularly full-time employed decreased from 29% to 16.3%, while the share of self-employed young has not changed (3%). The differences are even bigger if we look at the group of young between 25-29 years of age, which the most represents young entrants to the labour market. In the period 2000-2010, the share of full-time employed young decreased from 74.5% to 57%, the share of full-time students increased from 3.7% to 14% and the share of unemployed increased from 7% to 11.2%. The share of regularly full-time employed young decreased from 52.4% to 32.8%, the share of part-time employed increased from 6.8% to 8.6% and the share of young without regular work increased from 12.1% to 25.7%.

The situation at the labour market for young employees (15-24 years) regarding work in shifts (41%) and work on Saturday (65.4%) has not changed much in the last five years, but deteriorated regarding work on Sunday (from 35% to 40%) and work in the evening (from 41% to 48%). The results of the research "Youth 2010" also show that differences between pay of young men and young women (15-29 years) decreased in the last decade among young in permanent employment, self-employed and part-time employed and increased among men and women, employed for a fixed-term (6%) and among those without regular work (8%).

3.2 Based on possible existing prospective studies, please provide information on the expected evolution of employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants in your country in the near future (coming 2-3 years)

Employers in Slovenia expect a lot of flexibility and adaptability of young people, but they generally offer only temporary jobs or work through the agencies offering student work (SI1101011Q). Recent research (Ignjatović and Trbanc 2009) showed that young people can expect more stable employment only after entering in the third decade of their life.

Block 4: Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

4.1 Identify main recent national measures/initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by public authorities in order to improve employment opportunities and working conditions for young entrants to the labour market.

Active Labour Market Policy (ALMP) measures are in general used to improve the employment of young people as well as any other group at risk. This indicates that there are a relatively small number of measures prepared especially for the young like "First Challenge" or "Programme for Young Entrepreneurs", but no specific measure is focused on the quality of jobs or working conditions of young labour market entrants.

The Slovene Human Resources and Scholarship Fund in 2012 and 2013 published a call "Life-long career orientation for employers and employees”. The purpose of this project in progress is to offer a career orientation to the employees by enhancing the HR development services in the companies. Although this measure is not focused only on young employees, the project offers employees, including the young, a possibility of developing their career paths as well as investing in their personal development.

4.2 Identify main recent initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by social partners (either at national, sector or company level) in order to improve working conditions amongst young entrants to the labour market.

Trade union movement has in May 2010 organised joint protests with young groups against the “Mini Jobs Act” complaining that it will decrease social security of young generations. The new legislation envisaged more flexible employment conditions in "mini jobs" and was likely to mainly affect working students, young unemployed, women and other vulnerable persons.

The Act was proposed to regulate the student work and all other occasional and temporary forms of work up to a maximum of 14 hours per week which could be performed by students and pupils as well as unemployed and retired persons and other inactive persons. ‘Mini Jobs Act’ established the conditions for carrying out mini jobs, the type jobs, conditions and methods of obtaining licenses for mediating the mini jobs, pay and obligations of employers, and the method of reporting, record keeping, monitoring and control. Student organisations were strongly against such a proposal, especially since Slovenia is characterized by a high share of student work among the young (SORS, 2012). According to them, the Act would on one hand reduce the social security of the student population and on the other hand increase the competition in getting such jobs between the most vulnerable groups in the Slovenian society (unemployed, young and pensioners) (SI1101011Q). Protests against “Mini Jobs Act” were one of the largest protest involving young groups since the independence of the Republic of Slovenia. On the employer side, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia also expressed some reservations about the Act – especially regarding the opportunity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to exploit the same number of young workers through mini jobs as in the case of student work. When the government in 2011 succeeded in passing the Mini Jobs Act through the parliament procedures, Association of Free Trade Unions (ZSSS) and Student Organisation of Slovenia (ŠOS) started with gathering the signatures for a legislative referendum in order to stop the implementation of the Act. Referendum succeeded and legislation on "mini jobs" was not adopted.

American Chamber of Commerce AmCham Slovenia, partner of the project Golden Thread, every year carries out an educational programme AmCham Young Professionals, where around 120 young people in leadership positions, aged between 25 and 33 years, participate. The program consists of interactive workshops, training, lectures and many other benefits and helps young leaders in personal and business development and the creation of a professional social network that benefits them both in work and in life. The program promotes skills such as communication, strategy, leadership, teamwork, creativity, thinking outside the box ("out of the box"), and social responsibility.

At the Association of Employers of Slovenia (ZDS) stress, that steps should be taken before the actual problems arise regarding employment opportunities for young, so they decided to participate in the awareness rising international project "Girls` Day" (Dan za punce) with an aim to educate, motivate and advise young women on careers in science and technology through workshops, seminars, and, most importantly, an open doors day in organisations where jobs are normally dominated by men. At ZDS hope that this kind of promotion of young women will create new positions and career opportunities for them at the labour market. The project will finish in June 2014.

Commentary by the NC

Young at the labour market in Slovenia are more often than other age groups characterized by flexible forms of employment, such as work in shifts, work over the weekend and work in the evening. Data from the national research "Youth 2010" shows, that the share of young aged 15-29 years in regular employment in the last decade halved, while the share of part time employment increased, especially among young women. But Slovenian Government is mostly concerned by the employment opportunities for those young just entering the labour market and pays no special attention on the quality of jobs for young at the labour market. Young are more and more faced with lack of employment opportunities, so they search for the solution in self-employment or further formal education, which offers them employment opportunities also via student work.

Bibliography

Ignjatović, M., Trbanc, M. (2009), "Zaposlovanje in brezposelnost mladih: aktivni, fleksibilni in prilagodljivi (Employment and unemployment of young people: active, flexible and adaptable". V Rakar T., Boljka U. (eds.), Med otroštvom in odraslostjo. Analiza položaja mladih v Sloveniji 2009 (Between childhood and adulthood. Analysis of the situation of young people in Slovenia in 2009), Ministry of Education and Sport, Office of the RS for Youth, Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana.

Ignjatović, M. (2010), EIRO CAR on Helping young workers during the crisis: contributions by social partners and public authorities, Eurofound, Ireland.

Lavrič, M., Flere, S., Krajnc, M., Klanjšek, R., Musil, B., Naterer, A. et al (2010), Youth 2010 (Mladina 2010), Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth and Ministry of Education and Sport, Maribor, Aristej.

Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (2012), Mladi v Sloveniji 2010 (Youth in Slovenia), SORS, published on 30 October 2012, Ljubljana, Special Release.

Svetin, I., Lah, L. (2011), Young people at the labour market, Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS), presented at the Press Conference, Ljubljana, 29 July 2011.

Barbara Luzar, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, Organisations and Human Resources Research Centre

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