Publication: Integrating the Long-Term Unemployed into the Job Market: Synthesis of International Experience and Implications for Kosovo

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Hiebl, Julian
Hempel, Kevin
Long-term unemployment has been a persisting problem in Europe since the 2008 economic crisis. Long-term unemployment is widespread across Europe, with Southern European countries most heavily affected (e.g. in Greece, the share of long-term unemployed out of the total number of unemployed accounted for 70 percent in 2018). The composition of a country’s long-term unemployed (LTU) population can be very heterogeneous, however, there are oftentimes similarities across countries. Lower levels of education and outdated skills are typical characteristics of long-term unemployed. Older workers, migrant workers, ethnic minorities, as well as people with health problems or disabilities are also more vulnerable to long-term unemployment. Many long-term unemployed face multiple barriers to labor market integration. International experience suggests that intensive and comprehensive approaches are needed to effectively support the long-term unemployed. The European Union (EU) has put in place a ‘Recommendation on the integration of the long-term unemployed (LTU) into the labor market’ highlighting the need for prevention, individualized support and partnerships with employers and other institutions to effectively support this group. Single, isolated measures (e.g. training or wage-subsidies alone) tend to be ineffective. While there is an increasing interest to serve the long-term unemployed in Kosovo (e.g. social assistance beneficiaries), structures and resources of the Employment Agency of Kosovo (EARK) will need to be strengthened to effectively support this target group. Current structures and resources (e.g. in terms of caseload of counselors) are not suited to provide the intensive support the long-term unemployed require. In order to build its capacity to serve the LTU, EARK may need to consider a mix of short-term strategies (incl. partnerships with non-public providers to overcome internal capacity constraints) and medium and long-term strategies (i.e. build capacity, increase resources, and experiment with tailored intervention strategies).
Hiebl, Julian; Hempel, Kevin. 2019. Integrating the Long-Term Unemployed into the Job Market; Integrating the Long-Term Unemployed into the Job Market : Synthesis of International Experience and Implications for Kosovo. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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