STA, 21 May 2019 - Intelligence work is normally an activity shrouded in secrecy, but the Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency (SOVA) has made an unprecedented decision to enlist new agents in a very public fashion - by publishing a job ad in newspapers and online.
The agency is looking to fill seven job vacancies, including for analysts, tech staff and legal personnel, as well as two jobs described as "acquisition of data with covert cooperation".
The agency said it was looking for "dynamic and motivated staff interested in working in intelligence and security, motivated by the challenges of the work, and willing to adapt to the special nature of the job."
Unlike other government agencies, SOVA is permitted by law to hire people directly and eschew a competitive hiring process, but it has now decided to go public with job postings for the first time in its history.
The job ad, published on Tuesday, is "another step towards the stated goal of improved transparency," SOVA said on its web page.
SOVA director Rajko Kozmelj told the media in the evening that this was a "step towards rejuvenating the agency", while it would also help prevent nepotism in staffing.
Asked whether such an approach would allow SOVA to check all candidates thoroughly enough, he said this would definitely be done.
"Everybody will have to be checked. Even if it takes time, all the requisite procedures will be carried out," Kozmelj told the Kanal A TV channel.
He indicated that a "nearby country" had been negligent in this respect. "We cannot afford to have things go wrong here," he added.
STA, 15 May 2019 - Trade unions have announced they will fight with all available means what they believe are concealed attempts to change the law on minimum wage on demands from employers, as suggested by statements by government officials and debates held by employer representatives. The Labour Ministry denied that changes were in the works.
Speaking at a press conference in Ljubljana on Wednesday, representatives of the trade union confederations ZSSS and Pergam said that they were ready to push for a referendum on the minimum wage law if it was changed.
ZSSS president Lidija Jerkič said that there was an increasing number of signs lately that employer organisations wanted to prevent the provisions eliminating all bonuses from the minimum wage from entering into force in January 2020, as scheduled.
Jerkič said that this was suggested by the statements by PM Marjan Šarec that an agreement should perhaps be found on minimum wage law changes, as well as by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek about employers warning him about the consequence of the exclusion of all bonuses from the minimum wage.
She also pointed to the recent round table debate of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry discussing the "domino effect of the minimum wage law" and certain statements by representatives of employees.
"If this is intended for testing the will of trade unions, let me reiterate clearly that we will not allow unilateral attempts at changing the legislation," Jerkič said.
If the law gets changed without the consent of trade unions, they will use all available means, including referendum, she said, adding that talks about a postponement of the exclusion of bonuses was out of the question.
Find out the average pay for various jobs in Slovenia here
The minority government's partner in the opposition, the Left, also sided with the trade unions and said it would help collect the needed signatures to have a referendum called.
Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, said that profits were growing in "leaps and bounds", going from EUR 169 million in 2013 to EUR 4.2 billion last year.
Aljoša Čeč, the secretary general of Pergam, also said that employers were undermining social dialogue by trying to change the minimum wage legislation.
ZSSS vice-president Ladi Rožič said that, given the announcements that the Slovenian economy as a whole made EUR 4.2 million in net profit last year, claiming that the minimum wage would destroy the economic model was "unwise and unproductive".
The Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Ministry responded by saying that it detected no anomalies or derogations that would require a change in legislation.
It added that the minimum wage must be high enough to allow a decent living without the aid of social transfers.
All out stories on the minimum wage in Slovenia are here
STA, 13 May 2019 - Employers have been pointing to their difficulties in finding qualified new employees for quite some time, but the situation has only been worsening to the point when it looks more dire than it was in 2008, before the economic crisis. Employers' organisations thus urge the authorities to take action by promoting economic migrations.
Employers have been hiring foreigners to alleviate the shortage, but the manpower pool of the former Yugoslav republics is depleting as well.
The organisations thus expect the government to speed up measures to tackle the issue and come up with a strategy for promoting economic migrations.
According to the Employment Service's data, in the past six months, almost 50% of employers were faced with the shortage, with the share standing at 70% among large companies.
The deficiency is most pronounced in the restaurant business (69%), construction (62%), social and health care (62%) and manufacturing (56%).
"Employers often encounter problems when trying to recruit employees for jobs which are paid less, physically demanding and/or come with demanding working schedules. There's also the issue of finding candidates for technical jobs requiring specific skills which are difficult to be obtained quickly by not (yet) trained and inexperienced people," said the service.
Increasing systemic discrepancies are present in the labour market, according to the service, with the number of available jobs growing, and the number of jobless decreasing.
As a result, the share of the unemployed with primary education or without it is increasing, same as the share of jobless people who are limited in finding employment and require active support.
On the other hand, the share of the unemployed disabled people is decreasing more slowly than the share of all unemployed people.
Employers are thus trying to fill in the gaps by adopting measures such as overtime or temporary increased workload, recruiting through temping agencies, encouraging the young to find jobs more quickly, discussing post-retirement work with older employees and attracting foreign employees, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) Samo Hribar Milič has told the STA.
The Slovenian Employers' Association (ZDS) secretary general Jože Smole also said that recruiting foreign employees was one of the key ways to tackle this issue.
According to the Employment Service, the number of work permits increased from 14,811 in 2015 to 18,049 in 2018. The numbers do not include single residence-work permits, with 1,180 of them being issued in 2015 and a significantly higher number of them in 2018 - 20,889.
In the first four months of this year, 9,693 foreigners obtained permits to reside and work in Slovenia. But getting such permits does not automatically denote receiving a work permit at the administrative unit in charge.
The majority of foreign recruits are from the former Yugoslav republics. Slovenia issued 16,596 work permits to citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina last year, 1,281 to citizens of Croatia, and 140 to citizens of Serbia.
The share of single residence-work permits was highest in case of migrant workers from Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Russia.
Employers criticise the length of procedures for hiring employees from third countries. Moreover, they have been waiting a year for the ratification of the treaty on employing Serbian citizens in Slovenia.
The protocol for implementing the treaty was signed in November last year, but the ratification has not taken place yet. However, employers caution that the manpower pool in the former Yugoslavia is being drained as well.
Hribar Milič thus called for ratification of treaties which would enable employing citizens of countries such as Ukraine and Belarus. He also urged the authorities to follow Germany's example and establish offices in charge of employing third-country nationals, for example in Sarajevo, Kiev or Skopje.
"The state already promised that, but has still not delivered on it," he pointed out.
The newspaper Delo recently reported that around a third of the foreigners getting work permits in Slovenia used that opportunity as a stepping stone for migrating to another EU country.
Commenting on this, Hribar Milič said that GZS member companies had been pointing that out, having invested in foreign recruitment only to be faced with recruits moving on to other EU countries.
He denied accusations of Slovenia importing workforce to the EU at dumping prices as Slovenian labour costs are lower, which makes workers from Slovenia cheaper. He said the accusations were based on individual cases, which should be sanctioned by law.
Smole said that given the amount of labour costs in Slovenia one could not speak about dumping.
He expects the government to step up action mitigating the manpower drain, reduce red tape and come up with an operational strategy for economic migrations.
On the other hand, the GZS is pleased about its collaboration with the Employment Service since the latter is developing personalised training and further courses for the unemployed in cooperation with the organisation. However, Hribar Milič concluded that there was room for improvement in that respect as well.
All our stories about employment in Slovenia are here
STA, 9 May 2019 - The number of job vacancies and occupied posts in Slovenia increased in the first quarter of 2019, which reflected in the highest job vacancy rate (2.6%) after 2008, the Statistics Office said on Thursday.
In the first three months of the year the job vacancy rate was the highest in construction (7.1%) and in administrative and support service activities (5.1%), and the lowest (0.3%) in electricity.
Slightly over 20,400 job vacancies were recorded, 1,200 more than in the previous quarter, when the job vacancy rate stood at 2.5%. Slovenia recorded the lowest job vacancy rate (0.6%) in the second half of 2009, just before the financial crisis.
Most of the job vacancies were recorded in manufacturing, construction and trade. In the first three months of the year employers with 10 or more persons in paid employment advertised slightly more than 12,600 job vacancies. This is almost 500 more than in the previous quarter and is a record high since 2008.
Seasonally adjusted data show that the number of occupied posts has been increasing since the second quarter of 2014. In the first quarter of 2019 around 766,500 posts were occupied, 4,700 more than in the previous quarter.
All our stories on employment in Slovenia are here
STA, 6 May 2019 - The newspaper Delo noted in Monday's editorial that it is commendable that Slovenia is the third most popular destination for workers from the Balkans, but also warns against overpopulating the country with foreigners, wondering "whether Slovenia should leave the door fully open for all".
Young people are leaving Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo as they are demoralised, they do not see any future at home, the paper says under the headline Our Own Ground Under Our Feet.
People are also leaving Croatia en masse, although the country is doing much better than its neighbours. What contributes to this is also the overall globalisation, with young people emigrating all over the world.
Slovenia is the third most popular destination for people from the Balkans for life and work, after Switzerland and Germany, which is actually commendable for the country. It means that life is good in Slovenia, the paper notes.
If Slovenia needs foreign labour force, citizens of the former Yugoslav republics are certainly the most favourable immigrants. Slovenians have many things in common with them, but there are also differences, because of which the former state disintegrated in the first place.
Delo says that the current increase in immigration should be analysed. "If it continues, in ten years a quarter of Slovenia's population will be foreigners," it says, adding that mechanisms for the integration of every foreigner individually should be established.
STA, 25 April 2019 - Household appliances maker Gorenje expects to lay off 270 people as the group undergoes reorganisation following a recent change in ownership. The newspaper Večer meanwhile learnt from the in-house trade union that 1,720 people would be sacked, of which 1,450 would be offered new contracts.
The company, which employs a total of just over 4,200 people, and has recently been taken over by Chinese Hisense, said in a statement following the report by Večer that reduction staff in support services would be achieved through attrition.
Nonetheless, layoffs will not be avoided if the company will determine that there is no more need for a certain position.
The trade union meanwhile said it was willing to use any measure to fight layoffs and has called a press conference for tomorrow. It also refused to take part in talks about redundancy criteria, scheduled for today.
Nevertheless, Gorenje expects a new organisation scheme to be adopted in the first half of May. The next step will be to finalise the redundancies list and adopt a plan of action.
The trade union strongly opposes any moves toward redundancies since it believes the employees are not responsible for the company's poor business results.
It wants the company's management to take responsibility for the poor performance by initiating a procedure investigating liability of individual top managers.
Gorenje generated almost EUR 1.2bn in sales revenue last year, a 1.7% decrease compared to 2017. In 2018 the company sustained some EUR 37m in net loss, while it brought in a profit the previous year.
STA, 25 April 2019 - Figures released by the Statistics Office ahead of Labour Day reveal that of the approximately 981,000 working Slovenians, 7% live below the poverty line, and 2% receive financial or material assistance from welfare organisations.
Employment most notably affects the material aspect of life. "Households with no working family members who have to support children, are at the highest risk of poverty. Some 70% of the members of these households live below the poverty line," said Karmen Hren, deputy director of the Statistics Office, at Thursday's press conference.
Some 17% of the unemployed Slovenians are recipients of financial or material assistance from welfare organisations.
Being out of a job also affects health; some 80% of the working population would describe their health as good or very good, whereas for the unemployed that figure is lower, at 60%.
Following students, the working population is the most content with their life. Among the employed and the self-employed, over half describe themselves as very happy, and 2% as unhappy. The unemployed and other non-active Slovenians are the least happy.
All our stories on employment in Slovenia are here
STA, 18 April 2019 - The level of precarious forms of employment among Slovenian youth is high, which is related to increasing fear of unemployment and stress, a study conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation has found.
Youth Study Slovenia 2018/2019, is the product of a broad survey conducted last year among 1,000 young people aged between 14 and 29, and is part of a project carried out in ten SE European countries (see more here).
"Individualism is increasingly prevalent among the youth, which is being manifested in many areas, from greater care for personal health to getting independent from parents faster, and increasingly individualist values," research manager Andrej Naterer from the University of Maribor said in presenting the study on Wednesday.
One of the findings is that in the period between 2010 and 2016 the number of young people leaving the country increased almost four-fold. It is the youth from wealthier families who tend to move out more often, which shows the pull factors are more important than the push factors.
Naterer said that at the same time youth immigration was increasing as well, with trends indicating circular migration.
When it comes to their values and opinions, young people are increasingly pro-European. Compared to their peers in other countries, they have very liberal values, but they are very supportive of the idea of a strong welfare state.
Researcher Miran Lavrič said that young people were worried about their health, had higher level of stress, which induced them to be active in sports.
"We are by far the most active in this respect, we have very active youth. Alcohol consumption has declined substantially as well so that Slovenian youth is increasingly responsible, in particular in the individualistic sense, because they feel they must take care of themselves in a very precarious labour market," said Lavrič.
The most surprising finding as pointed out by him was that among youth surveyed in all SE European countries, young Albanians are the happiest with their lives, whereas Slovenian youth are the least happy with their lives and with their physical appearance.
This is the second major youth study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Centre for the Study of the Post-Yugoslav Societies at the Maribor Faculty of Arts after the one in 2013.
A PDF of the full study on Slovenia, in English, can be found here
STA, 17 April 2019- Slovenia still has a way to go before becoming truly attractive to best talent, a debate organised by AmCham heard on Wednesday. The speakers, among them Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer, shared the view that capable workforce thrived on demanding and interesting challenges.
Nana Šumrada Slavnič, the head of legal services at Ekipa 2, a branch of Outfit 7 that created the Talking Tom game, believes Slovenia has a good education system but it fails to deliver variety to those who want more than what is offered as part of the curricula.
Moreover, companies should focus on public exposure of their best talent. "People are good at their jobs when they feel valued," Šumrada Slavnič told the event hosted by the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics.
The minister in charge of labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities, Klampfer, believes that life-work balance remained a blind spot for many Slovenian employers.
Often, people leave their jobs because of poor relations at the company, she said, adding the only way to address this issue was to improve communication at the workplace.
Professor Robert Kaše of the Economics Faculty believes that talent need challenges. A study of the faculty showed that talents believed they were using only about 66% of their potential at work. He also stressed the importance of either formal or informal recognition of the talent's status within the company.
Ksenija Špiler of BB Consulting believes it is key for talents to find their own challenges and not for them to wait to be presented by challenges with the superiors.
Touching on brain drain, the minister said this was a normal phenomenon. It is good for people to go abroad, gain new experience and return back home. Slovenia can achieve that they will indeed return through effective housing policies and welfare system.
Matic Vošnjak of Competo, a human resources consultancy, said that 47% of people who venture abroad return back home. However, they often have problems with finding new opportunities for themselves once they return because companies frequently do not know how to use their potential.
All our stories about AmCham Slovenia are here
STA, 26 March 2019 - Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer announced the government was not considering relaxing dismissal rules as she attended an employer conference in Ljubljana on Tuesday.
While the employers have been urging more flexibility in hiring and firing, the minister said she was aware of their proposals to enable termination without cause.
"However, some international documents prevent it, so no changes in this direction are in the making, there being no expert basis for it."
But despite an upturn on the labour market and the economic trends, which are currently still positive, legislation should be changed to facilitate faster activation of workers and keep older workers on the labour market longer, she told the employers.
The employers presented their demands to Klampfer at the conference, primarily calling for less red tape and no additional labour costs.
They also complained about the education system, saying it did not provide the trained staff that Slovenian companies needed.
Sharing their view, Klampfer said there were "many challenges" in this respect, assuring them the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities was pushing for a change in the mindset so that workers realise life-long learning was a must.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Jernej Pikalo urged employers to help promote apprenticeship. Apprentices are initially a cost for the company but the investment pays off in the long-term, he stressed.
"That's why I'm urging you to cooperate with us, to present us your needs," he said, noting that the apprenticeship system was not functioning too well in Slovenia.
The system is working because apprenticeship is backed by EU funds, but once these funds are cut, there will be big problems, he said.
The president of the Association of Employers in Craft and Small Business, Drago Delalut, urged the employers to close ranks and state clearly they needed a stable business environment comparable with competitive countries.
He expressed concern over the supplementary budget for 2019, saying it had set expenditure much too high and had been passed with much horse trading.
The guidelines of a tax reform are also a cause for concern as they indicate measures will be taken to further burden the corporate sector, he said.
"Political decision-makers like to decide on expanding rights without calculating their consequences," he said.
Sharing some of the employers' views, the president of the upper chamber of parliament, Alojz Kovšca, criticised the government for not taking the pressure off the corporate sector.
On the contrary, the government is putting more burdens on businesses, while not talking about any measures to increase productivity, Kovšča said.
He also urged the employers to close ranks to revive social dialogue in the country, regretting it had come at a standstill.
All of our stories on employment in Slovenia are here