Finding employment unrelated to obtained degrees

Graduated young Kosovars have taken positions for which they did not study. Young people with a degree accept menial jobs just to earn a salary for survival. Diplomas obtained and requirements in the labour market seems unmatched. Overall social science degrees (such as economics and law) are more preferred, and there is a surplus of graduates compared to technical or natural sciences, and information technology.

M.M. got a degree in journalism in 2013. After graduation his attempts to find a job in his profession proved unsuccessful. He claims to have applied for 4-5 vacancies announcements, but was called in for an interview. Considering the circumstances and the difficulties to find employment in his profession, M.M. decided to open a restaurant in Pristina.

“Being jobless, I was able to afford the opening of the restaurant by putting a financial burden on my family, as well as by borrowing money’’. M.M. tells that his dream job working as PR person costed him a lot. “I have completed the high school program of nursing, and I worked in that for two years; but I dreamed of becoming a journalist, and my desire led me to quit my former job in a medical centre so that I could start studying journalism. But I guess that was a bad decision, because I ended unemployed after graduation”. He adds that the number of students graduating from journalism is disproportional to the number of job offers.

Fedri Kadriu, from NGO ‘’Paqja Studentore/Student Peace’’ confirms that there are so many cases when lawyers or linguists work as waiters, kitchen staff, or other professions that do not match to the skill set they developed through university studies. “The reason why they are forced to make such choices is the lack of job openings for these professions, as well as the costs of living. “In addition there are some other specific cases when people are led to leave their profession just because they can be involved in familiar businesses, in tasks that do not correspond with their academic background”.

However, institutions do not have any data on the number of graduates who are unemployed or who work in positions for which they are not qualified. Here are some data of the University of Pristina that allow us to make the following summary:

Department

Academic year

Applicants

Graduated

Economic

2012-2013

 

1167 students

Economic

2013-2014

4743 students

1312 students

Economic

2014-2015

5927 students

 

Law

2012-2013

 

639 students

Law

2013-2014

2123 students

808 students

Law

2014-2015

3098 students

 

Ismail Kurteshi, member of the Parliamentary Committee for Education, says that the stagnation of economic development, the reduction of jobs combined with the constant increase in university enrolments, as well as a lack of harmonization of courses offered with labour market needs are some of the factors that lead to the increase in unemployment in Kosovo and/or to employment in inappropriate positions.

Kosovo has over 120,000 students, or about 60,000 students per million residents. The number of students per capita in other European countries is twice as small, despite the fact that economies of developed European countries need more staff with superior qualifications. Therefore, it is understandable why people are migrating towards the west.

At the same time in Kosovo there is a lack of diversification profiles. Kurteshi claims that in so many faculties, opening of new courses is not related to market needs, but rather to maximization of billing hours for professors. On the other hand, private universities have only one goal: material benefit, and as such are not interested about the distortion of the labour market.

To prevent such situations, the state must invest in the creation of new jobs; in creating a suitable environment for foreign investment; and the number of students enrolled in Kosovo faculties should be aligned with labour market needs”, says Kurteshi.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kosovo announced that this year it launched a plan to guide young people towards natural science studies. The Minister of Education, Arsim Bajrami, said that in coordination with the Rector of UP for the academic year 2015/16 at the University of Prishtina admission quotas for natural science degrees have been raised.

Anita Kadriu
Pristina, December 2015