Highly educated but low paid: youth employment in North Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro

What is it?

The objective of this policy brief is to provide recommendations to the policymakers to implement adequate measures and strategies for tackling the youth underemployment in North Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, in order to generate satisfaction and financial welfare among youth. The brief recommends implementation of more aggressive youth employment policies, composed of internship and traineeship programs, qualification, re-training and profiling of the youth into sectors and occupations that need (or will need) additional workforce.


When a worker underuses his/her skills, training and experience, he/she is said to be underemployed. According to the literature, underemployment may be defined from two different strands: 1) According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the underemployed labor force is comprised by those working less than 35 hours per week but wishing to work more, and 2) From a broader definition or multidimensional approach, underemployed is the one who fulfils at least two of the following criteria: i) working less than 35 hours per week but wishing to work more; ii) overqualification for a given job; iii) insecurity on a job; iv) underpayment i.e. salary is below the reservation wage; and v) lack of formal working conditions i.e. the person is with temporary or no written contract or is in involuntary part-time or contingent work.

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