Iceberg model and Employment Issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina /Thinking Out Loud/

I have firstly encountered Iceberg Model somewhere on the Internet during 2017, in one of Leyla Acaroglu’s articles/blogs. It immediately made sense to me and I copied it to my notepad. In short, it’s a tool used to gain a deeper understanding of things. It illustrates that things we see or read about in newspapers (events) are only a tip of iceberg. There’s much more of iceberg under the water, just as there are things that influence things we see or read about, but are not easily visible.

source:  Leyla Acaroglu 

A few days ago I tried to find Leyla’s post, but failed. Instead, I found Systems Thinking With The Iceberg: A Tool for Multi-stakeholder System Sight which explains it nicely.

In order to help myself understand (un)employment in Bosnia and Herzegovina better, I decided to give the iceberg model a try. Here are the first results:

right click -> open image in the new tab to see full size image

EVENTS:

  • Poor working conditions in industry: overtime work, irregular salaries, “bossing”, incomplete salaries at the end of the month, poor salaries…
  • Employers report that high school graduates don’t have appropriate knowledge
  • Employers often don’t register their employees (they usually do it later, when state offers incentives for employment)
  • Enterprises can’t find workers
  • Unemployed persons show poor interest for employment programs (note: high school graduates show best interest)
  • Enterprises mostly need low skilled workers

PATTERNS:

  • Workers are leaving B&H, especially younger people (large percentage of them is finding jobs abroad with help of Employment Offices)
  • High-income families are also leaving (some of the reasons I found in interviews online are general uncertainty and lack of possibilities for professional advancement)

STRUCTURES:

  • Enterprises must offer their products for low price to be competitive (since without Research&Development and final products, they don’t have many possibilities), so they are making saving by paying low salaries

MENTAL MODEL:

  • Ingenuity at the expense of the state
  • “If others are doing it so will I”
  • “It’s better to do nothing for nothing, then to work for nothing”
  • general belief that it’s a shame not to finish a college

I’m about to add more events in the next few days (or weeks), which I will use to see if there are any new patterns or structures appearing. I’m also sure some things are misplaced, but still I decided to post it. If someone who has used Iceberg model in practice and/or is interested in the same topic is reading, a comment would be great.

To be continued…

Review of Labour Force Survey in B&H 2017 – more realistic representation of workforce in RS

These days media in Republic of Srpska are reporting of 263 476 employed persons, which is the highest number in history, referring to data published by Employment Office of RS. At the same time, Agency for Statistics of B&H publishes Labour Force Survey 2017, given the information of 313 000 employed persons in RS.

Where does the difference come from?

Unlike the Employment Office of RS, which defines registered workers (working in enterprises, institutions, as entrepreneurs etc.) as employed persons, Agency for Statistics of B&H used a definition that also included non-registered workers, working in enterprises or as entrepreneurs.

“Employed persons are persons aged 15 years and above and in the referent week they: (a) worked at least one hour for salary or fee, regardless of their formal status, or (b) didn’t work, but had a job they will return to.”

If we search for the number of unemployed persons in Labour Force Survey 2017, which is 116 274 according to Employment Office data, we will see it is 83 000. Therefore, significantly minor. Once again, definition of unemployed persons is different between Employment Office of RS and Agency for Statistics of B&H. Employment Office implies that unemployed persons are persons registered at Employment Office as active job seekers, and Agency for Statistics implies that they are persons who didn’t perform activities for salary, or were seeking for a job. (More about active and passive job seekers you can read in my previous blog.)

“Unemployed persons are persons aged 15 and above who: (a) in referent week didn’t perform any activities for a salary or a fee, (b) during four weeks (referent week and three previous weeks) were actively seeking for a job or found a job and will start working soon, (c) could start working in the next two weeks, if they were offered a job.”

 

Employment Office of RS (October 2017) Agency for Statistics of B&H (April 2017)
Number of employed persons 236 476 313 000
Number of unemployed persons 116 274 83 000

As in my previous blog, I need to underline that RS, as well as whole B&H, isn’t a place with surplus of workforce anymore, but a place with deficit of workforce. Number of working age population is decreasing at significant speed. Firstly that was recognized by local enterprises, who in the beginning had difficulties to find skilled workforce, and nowdays have more and more problems to find any workers. A drastic example happened recently in Visoko, where enterprise Prevent opened a call for employing 400 people, and they only found 2.

Only during the last 2 years, number of working age population in RS decreased by nearly 50 000. The trend is, unfortunately, speeding up: between 2015 and 2016 number of working age population decreased by 18 000, and between 2016 and 2017 by 29 000.

2015 2016 2017
Working age population in RS 885 000 867 000 838 000

In the meantime…

In the meantime, Council of Ministers of B&H and Government of Republic of Slovenia have an agreement on employing citizens of B&H in Slovenia through 3 employment offices in B&H, which is being more and more exploited.

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 (until October)
Numbers of B&H citizens employed in Slovenia through employment offices in B&H 661 1870 2677 4478 8123