Ajka Baručić is 25 years old and lives in Tuzla, a town 75 miles south of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital, Sarajevo. In May 2014, Ajka joined the team of a new Prime Minister for the Government of the Tuzla Canton where she works as an Advisor. Ajka, who holds a degree in economics and a Masters in Business, now has the opportunity to apply her knowledge in this new position.
Getting a job in one’s actual field is almost miraculous.
“The problem of unemployment is a big challenge for my generation,” says Ajka, one of the co-authors - along with Lejla Ahmetagic - of a winning essay in a recent contest looking at youth unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “There are not so many opportunities for young people to get a job and the education system does not provide us with practical experience, so when we get to the labor market we only know the theory and not the practice.”
Marina Andrijević, one of the top five finalists in the contest, agrees.
“We can’t all expect to get jobs in [the areas] we were educated in. We have to face that. There is no way that 7,000 economists will find jobs in the next three years or so.”
Marina, 21, lives in Sarajevo and is about to graduate from university with a degree in economics. Marina has been able to secure an internship to help pave the transition from student to employee, but worries about what the future might hold.
“I’m not too optimistic about the future,” admits Marina, “this is one of the most important structural problems that is not easy to solve – especially in the short term.”