Understanding the Basics: A market that holds back women and youth

Labour market data in Albania suggest that the economic growth experienced during the last two decades has not been translated into significant labour market improvements. In the first quarter of 2015, labour force participation rates remained below European averages, with women’s participation rates significantly lower than men’s (54.2% and 72.2% respectively). Youth participation rates are even lower (36.7% for young women and 50.5% for young men) and as such indicative of the fact that youth face increased difficulties in the labour market compared to other adults. 34.5% of youth are neither in employment, nor in education or training (NEET), more than twice the rate found among EU27 countries (13%). Only 21.2% of young women in this category are actively seeking employment, compared to over 50% of the men.

Total employment (1,039,545) is dominated by the agricultural (41.1%) and services (40.6%) sectors. The structure of employment indicates that 41.6% of total employment in 2014 was in paid employment, while the self-employed and contributing family members accounted for 26% and 32.4% respectively. Women are disproportionately engaged in employment in the agricultural sector and 41.9% of them are contributing family members. In the first quarter of 2015, the number of 15-64 year olds actively seeking a job reached 217,647 and the overall unemployment rate declined to 17.3% (17.7% for men and 16.8% for women). Youth unemployment has continued its upwards trend, reaching 34.1% (36.5% for men and 29.7% for women), nearly double the national average. Long-term unemployment is staggering, with 64.3% of the total being unemployed for longer than a year.