Youth with disabilities in the Serbian labor market


Through activation to inclusion in employment-support to young people with disabilities

June 2016 - March 2017

Aiming to improve the process of employment of youth with disabilities, in partnership with the Youth with Disabilities Forum (YDF), SeConS implemented research to provide insight into the employment practices of youth with disabilities in Belgrade. Research shows which problems face unemployed young people with disabilities and employers and which support measures can be used to overcome these obstacles.

This is the first research into the position of youth with disabilities in the Serbian labor market since the adoption of the new Law in 2009 and is the continuation of successful collaboration with YDF. Research implemented by SeConS and YDF between 2012 and 2014 concerned conditions for employment set by the Law on Employment of Persons with Disabilities.

Research findings showed that a significant number of young persons with disabilities are active on the job market in Belgrade, are motivated, and feel capable of accomplishing work tasks. Local specialised schools follow trends on the job market, but the situation is not entirely good when it comes to the demand. According to this research’s findings, a specific niche has been created on the job market, as employers are seeking persons with milder disabilities, for whom there is a lesser need for adaptation during the consolidation into the workplace and the collective. Exceptions are big corporations which have been developing the standards for employing persons with disabilities through corporate social responsibility policy. They often have developed systems for their professional rehabilitation, which in many instances go beyond the standard set by the state.

As an outcome of the segregation of the youth with disabilities on the job market several negative consequences emerge. Youth with disabilities most often perform jobs below their qualifications. Sometimes employers wrongly perceive their work capability, and therefore assign them a lowered scope of work, as well as less demanding tasks. Most of these persons work temporary jobs, short term jobs, or those within public work or certain project-based activities. Among the youth with disabilities, long term employment is several times lower as compared to other young persons.