Labour market liberalisation is among the few areas where our progress depends on ourselves and where we aren’t lagging far behind the rest of the world. As such, labour market globalisation represents an opportunity to accelerate our development that we shouldn’t miss
In Serbia, but also worldwide, we are witnessing changes that are deep and unclear – and even invisible to large economic systems – and that are reflected in global labour market migrations, especially when it comes to the Millennial and Zoomer generations, but also among older workers. This is a trend prompted by people desiring more humane working and general living conditions, which was accelerated by the pandemic crisis of 2020 and is continuing at the same fast pace. Career development and monetary earnings no longer represent the basic parameter for employment – the focus is on quality of life, which is why people who are able to work remotely choose to reside in environments/countries where they live better. Likewise, employees no longer want to represent a unit of the “labour force”, but rather insist on a personalised, more human approach to the workplace and their place in the team. On top of that, borders are fading away – particularly interstate ones. Under the influence of the internet, everything is available to us globally, including the labour market. Serbia now massively exports personnel of all kinds, and thus the economy has a problem regardless of whether people physically leave the country or stay here and work remotely for a foreign employer, because the lack of required and qualified personnel will certainly slow the growth of the domestic economy, as we are already witnessing. “Quick imports” aren’t easily achieved, because it’s tough for local employers to offer competitive working conditions.
Serbia is no exception, and nor will it be in the future, when it comes to importing or exporting workers. If we transform ourselves into a society offering a high quality of life, we have a chance to survive and prosper. This implies advancing all life parameters, infrastructure – particularly related to the internet, hybrid work and/or an exclusively online model of work as an acceptable and desirable form of employment and the accelerated harmonising of legislation and tax practices, both for Serbian citizens and residents of Serbia, as well as for workers from other countries who are engaged temporarily.
Serbia’s integration into the EU and the global labour market could provide a major problem if we don’t adapt on time and prepare for intensive migration dynamics
Legal regulations are lagging behind practice, despite this is not being a mere trend – but rather an irreversible global shift in the company – employee – state relationship.
It won’t be easy for states, including ours, to simultaneously liberalise the labour market and protect its citizens in this market competition; to open the door to exports of human capital while retaining income in Serbia; to open the door to imports of human resources, while preserving standards of education, effectiveness, the formal recognition of diplomas, professional qualifications, knowledge and titles. The human resources market is ahead of the state for now, regulations are late and insufficiently stimulating for both companies and individuals.
Serbia’s integration into the EU and the global labour market could provide a major problem if we don’t adapt on time and prepare for intensive migration dynamics. That’s because the domestic economy will stagnate in the absence of human resources. And yet, this could also be a huge opportunity for accelerated economic and social growth, provided we speed up the acceptance of migratory trends, adjust legislative and tax policies, define industries that are strategic to us and stimulate domestic companies/employers, and not just foreign investors.
Labour market liberalisation is among the few areas where our progress depends on ourselves and where we aren’t lagging far behind the rest of the world. As such, labour market globalisation represents an opportunity to accelerate our development that we shouldn’t miss – if we are ready to strategically determine economic branches that are crucial (the IT industry and creative industries, for example) and to support their development through systemic solutions, especially in terms tax policy – by abolishing parafiscal fees and introducing tax breaks for businesses and tax incentives for investments in the development of enterprises.