As of March 2013, the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization is hosting a new project: “Expectations against exclusion: Young educated Roma and labour markets in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” initiated and implemented by Tatjana Peric, Social Research Fellow of the ERSTE Foundation from Vienna, and funded by the ERSTE Foundation.
Since the launch of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 – 2015, all around Central and Southeastern Europe, governments have initiated strategies and measures aiming at the improvement of the Roma situation in four key thematic areas: education, employment, health care and housing. The situation of many Roma, however, remains precarious, with entire segments of Roma population remaining poor, uneducated, unemployed and ghettoised.
Since monitoring and evaluations are largely lacking, especially when it comes to governmental projects, there are no clear indications on success in the implementation of employment-related measures. Successes appear to be few, and by far overshadowed by large numbers of Roma in need of (formal) employment. The governmental measures affect low numbers of Roma, and significantly fail to address the needs of certain subgroups within the Roma population, such as Romani women, as well as highly educated young Roma.
This shortcoming is particularly emphasized in the broader context of improving education levels among young Roma generations. Numerous education projects and scholarship programmes have increased the numbers of young Roma in high schools and universities. At this moment, there are already generations of fresh Roma graduates, with their numbers increasing by year, whose tertiary education has been strongly affected by affirmative action measures.
The problem, however, is the lack of opportunities awaiting these young Roma. In shrinking labour markets, there is already a scarcity of jobs. Roma, in addition, are faced by potential racial discrimination by employers. Furthermore, for those young graduates who manage to find their place on the labour market, their positions are in many cases relating thematically to Roma issues, and the instances of young educated Roma employed in professional positions that are unconnected to the Roma sphere is not common.
For these reasons, this research project would address the position of young educated Roma in the labour markets of two neighbouring countries: Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and explore their expectations vis-à-vis their actual experiences with employment issues. The publication of research results is expected in January 2014.