Mapping Study: Unemployment among Youth in Albania – Causes and Recommendations


The methodology for this baseline report included both quantitative and qualitative instruments. The qualitative instruments consisted on: a) research of the existing national policies and documents in the field of youth, education and employment; b) Conduct of semi-structured interviews with government institutions such as the representatives of the regional office of the National Employment Service, representatives of local government units in Vlora, Shkodra, Lezha, Durres, Shijak, Peqin and Korca, Elbasan; experts and representatives of career offices at the universities of Korça, Elbasan, Durrës, Vlora and Gjirokastra. The quantitative instrument (online survey) targeted the following stakeholders in the largest regions of the country: Tirana, Durrës, Dibër, Vlora, Elbasan, Shkodër, Korcë, Gjirokastër, specifically:

  • 115 NEET youth (62% girls and 38% boys).
  • 42 representatives from different business sectors
  • 51 representatives of civil society organizations engaged in youth policy and employment, information and technology, education, social policy and career counselling.

Main findings

According to the National Institute of Statistics in Albania (INSTAT), currently in Albania the NEET group comprises 25.5% of the 15-24 age group and 26.6% of the 15-29 age group (INSTAT, 2020).

Throughout the recent years, some important progress has been made in terms of the legal framework targeting youth, such as the adoption of the Law “On Youth” (No. 75/2019) and the Law “On Employment Promotion” (No. 15/2019).

According to the actors involved in this research, youth policies are often not in line with the real youth needs and challenges and lack the identification of their socio-economic needs and their expectations regarding employment. Particularly as regards the NEET group, there is still no concrete plan for training and employment promotion. Such focus will be given by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in the next action-plan for the forthcoming years 2021-2025. There are several efforts made by higher education institutions and civil society organizations to involve youth in courses and trainings. However, challenge remain the understanding and analysis of the factors that influence young people to belong to the NEET group. Also, there is a high lack of trust among young people in state institutions regarding their employment. For this, they emphasize the lack of information on job vacancies          or very low payrolls offered to young people by not meeting the minimum vital requirements for them, especially in small municipalities.

The analysis shows that the biggest challenge for this group of young people is presented in the transition period from school (whether after high school, university or vocational education) into the labour market. This relates to a mixture of factors, such as: little efforts made by the educational institutions at preparing youth with the right set of skills in line with the needs of the labour market; lack of cooperation among the government institutions, the private sector and civil society actors to invest in policies and programs that meet the needs of NEET both in terms of enhancing their skills and facilitating information on employment opportunities.

According to the stakeholders in this report, level of education, skills (both digital and soft skills) owned by youth and lack of internship opportunities are main challenging issues which should be addressed.

It is important to note that over 70% of young people surveyed have expressed a strong desire to acquire both digital and soft skills. In this context, youth capacity building needs to be addressed by a wide range of actors, inside and outside the education institutions. As such, civil society organizations play an important role by focusing on non-formal education, through the provision of courses, training and other community activities, in order to increase the soft skills of young people in the country.

While in Albania the unemployment rate among young people remains high, employers on the other hand face difficulties at finding qualified workforces. According to the business representatives, this is related to the lack of future’s perspective from youth and the huge gap between educational preparation and required skills in the labour market. Lack of soft skills but also of the digital ones addressed in this report shows that young people in the country are not competitive in the labour market and do not have the necessary capacity to adapt to its rapid change. In this regard, the representative from the business community emphasize that the educational institutions should combine the academic offer with the field practice. As well, these institutions should diversify the study curricula and tailor it to market needs. The same statement is highlighted also from NEET youth respondents who don’t feel enough oriented towards the labour market.

All actors involved in this report underline the importance of implementing the “one-stop-shop- model for youth employment and suggest that this model will serve as hub for exchange on employment opportunities. Furthermore, they suggest that this model might serve as a resource center also comprising courses, practices and other activities implemented by state institutions, CSOs and the business community.

This baseline report provides some recommendations addressed to different actors at national and local level

  • Establishing of after-school programs (courses, trainings) by civil society organizations with focus at increasing the soft skills of NEET youth.
  • Design of concrete action- plans between educational institutions (high-schools and universities) and the business community at offering internships for youth.
  • Educational institutions should design career counselling programs starting from the secondary education level.
  • Civil society organisations and the business community should invest on the design and implementation of courses, trainings focused on increasing the digital / computer skills of youth (18-20 years old).
  • Establish unified centers (at municipal level) for as unique hub for exchange information on youth employment and youth capacity building activities.
  • Civil society organisations, local government units and the business community should periodically conduct research on market needs and measure youth skills to adapt to the labour market.
  • Organisation of capacity building activities to the business community on how to approach young people in order to increase cooperation and mutual trust between them.
  • Analyse youth’s needs at local level and organisation of periodic meetings among youth and local actors including business community, educational institutions and local government institutions aiming to present their needs and to boost communication among these stakeholders.
  • Increase cooperation and networking among civil society organizations in order to exchange information and practices, both in framework of capacity building activities and on funding opportunities for CSOs.