The Unemployment Crisis in Macedonia

The unemployment rate of Macedonians aged 20-34 was 36.3% in 2018, according to a Eurostat Report published on June 27, 2019. Over a third of young people are unable to contribute to Macedonia’s growth due to the lack of affordable higher education and job opportunities. The problem worsens for women who were found to have an unemployment rate of 42.6%.

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) urges the government of Macedonia to create job opportunities for young people, and advance the private sector. A population of this magnitude being unemployed is detrimental to Macedonia’s development. Reports estimate that Macedonia has lost over a quarter of its population since 1991 to emigration and with eventual EU membership, it is estimated 40% of the population would leave for better opportunities.

UMD’s Summer Research Fellows have identified key market areas that the government can regulate to lower unemployment rates, and, hopefully, reverse the growing trends of brain drain.

  • Infrastructure i.e. building new roads and updating the sewer systems
  • Create a better environment for Diaspora Investors and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
  • Invest more resources into the Private Sector and help startups, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • Investment into military technology and artificial intelligence
  • Better healthcare for all including keeping hospitals in check
  • Clean air investments
  • Affordable higher education
  • Tourism promotion. Macedonia is a beautiful and culturally rich country, and people should be made aware of that.

Recently, UMD began a collaboration with the Business Accelerator through the University Sts. Cyril and Methodius, a startup mentorship program focused on helping startups in Macedonia achieve success. It was discovered that 75% of Macedonian startups have a deficiency of sales knowledge and skills, and only 35% of those startups were offered assistance. Business Accelerator UKIM pairs successful business mentors with these startups to help shape business models. UMD has pledged to provide 25 diaspora mentors every six months to these startups. If you would like to get involved as a mentor, e-mail a brief biography and contact details to mentorship@umdiaspora.org.

The Macedonian government must take action to solve this pressing crisis by creating a better environment for diaspora investors and FDI. High rates of unemployment in young people have led to disastrous results in history. Let us learn from the mistakes of the past and set forth on the path towards a nation where more young people can contribute towards society – it’s their future.