Graduates and School Leavers With Limited Options in SR

As the school year draws to an end, the labour market will once again be inundated with thousands of school-leavers and university graduates keen to launch their careers, but as is the case every year, the Slovak market will not provide adequate opportunity for them.

Comenius University, Bratislava (c) The Daily

According to the labour and social welfare office UPSVaR, roughly 120,000 enthusiastic job-seekers will join the labour market in the coming weeks as schools close for the summer. Statistically, Slovakia is one of the worst countries in the EU when it comes to accommodating these new workers, as the labour market just doesn’t have the capacity and unemployment is already fairly high.

The office plans to come up with a plan in collaboration with the Ministry of Education that will deal with the problem better by aligning education more to the needs of the labour market.

At least this year fresh workers will have more opportunities abroad because on 1 May the German and Austrian labour markets opened up to Slovaks, among others. We can already see an increasing number of German and Austrian companies advertising in Slovak media, so for many of these hopeful youngsters it might be a case of Auf Wiedersehen! as the Slovak brain drain picks up speed.


  1. Hi all … i am a slovak who is doing PhD at a German university …. from my experience doing research in the department, i have noticed that slovak universities lack the confidence in young researchers … they are all ruled by old folks who don’t wanna change the system … another thing .. is the total separation of university and the industry …. German universities really live on such cooperation .. for example, in my department: a total of 11 employees and researchers .. there are 13 projects funded by the multinational corporations … from Lufthansa, VW, Deutsche bank …etc
    Slovak universities should have more flexibility, and should change its strategy toward better integration with the industry sector …. Joint R&D centers for example will be a good idea ….
    regarding working in Germany, its not the most friendly work environment … i would advice going to UK or the US …. Germans always look down to you … and the culture is not that tolerable towards foreigners …!!!!

    1. I’ll take your word for the last three lines. The rest of your post? My feelings 100%. George might agree too but that would make twice in two days and I’d have start to worrying about him.

  2. Whilst I hate to say it James, but I actually agree with you !!!

    What you first have to remember is that Slovakia runs a caste system and you are often judged by your education , as a person . Being a lawyer is considered as a ‘good job’ and where all the old folk nod and bow their heads in approval, if a child or grandchild achieves such lofty status . Being a teacher is also consider a plus in Slovakia …..although the pay is utter crap .

    What is wrong in education in Slovakia ……?? Well always it is run by the old boys network , hard to change the working habits of 50 years , where most senior teaching staff, Lecturers and Deans all enjoy a very, very cocooned and comfortable life , just turning the same wheel , year on year on year . Why change something and actually do build a new modern faster wheel, when the old one is not broken ….This is Slovakia after all , where working hard, service, change and thinking outside the box are well down the list of priorities in improving your own life .

    1. George, good to know that you think agreeing with me is a lesser evil than missing the opportunity to lambast the Slovak education system. And don’t worry ; I’m sure we’ll have an opportunity to disagree about something before too long!

      I’d add medicine to the list of ‘Brahmin’ jobs ; you still hear kids justifying their attempts to get on a medicine course on the basis that father is a doctor and grandfather was before him etc. But still, the popularity of medicine and (more so) teaching pale into insignificance when compared to law. Law is clearly viewed as both a well-paid profession AND an easy subject to study, especially at some of these cowboy faculties.

      My observations on education in Sk would take far too long and would be far too tedious but, in short, I think things aren’t too bad in the early years, where the traditional ways still have something to recommend them. It gets a bit worse at secondary level and far far worse at university. The phrase ‘vested interests’ could have been invented to describe Slovak universities. What they still don’t seem to get is that they’re now in competition for bright students with decent foreign universities and are losing hands down.

  3. One question that definitely needs asking is what all these would-be lawyers are going to do in the future. I struggle to understand why there are private law faculties springing up in all corners of the country ; presumably they’re for people who are rich and a bit thick or at least weren’t bright enough to get into a real university.

    The car industry obviously needs people with practical skills but falling birthrates in the 90s mean that technical schools are really struggling for students now because kids still want to get to gymnaziums, which themselves have been forced to lower standards to keep their own numbers up.

    The truly clever students, of course, want to study anywhere but Slovakia. This is largely because none of the country’s universities figure in the list of the world’s top 500 and naturally means they’ll be taking their first career steps abroad too.

    I heard Miklos talking about this whole question a few months ago. He made reasonable sense but I don’t see much action as yet.

  4. Off to pick Tiptree strawberries, or flip McD burgers then Mr Ing.Mgr bla, de bla? I guess there is always the car production line ….I mean as a Slovak you need at least an Art degree to use a spanner and screwdriver, no ?

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