Hundreds have found jobs in the past two years thanks to the support of the European Union, while companies in BiH still lack qualified and skilled workers.
Due to high unemployment rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina, young people are increasingly choosing to seek work abroad. However, many companies in BiH are willing to invest in job creation and production expansion, thus attracting clients from abroad.
The information and communication sector (ICT) is one of the fastest growing industries in Bosnia and Herzegovina and offers amazing opportunities for employment of young people. Currently there are 380 companies in the ICT sector, employing about 4,000, while according to the latest studies, ICT companies are in demand for about 6,000 employees.
“ICT is to become one of the leading industries in the country’s economy,” says Adnan Oručević, Managing Director with ZenDev doo from Mostar. In the past year, ZenDev was one of six ICT companies supported with the European Union funds as a part of the Local Integrated Development (LID) project, implemented by UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The company works in web and desktop app development, as well as developing mobile apps.
In order to expand its portfolio and services, as well as to improve company’s competitiveness in the market, ZenDev applied to a public call announced within the LID project, focusing on the procurement of equipment and employment of 5 persons in mobile app development section.
“We hired young people, mostly students in their senior year, giving them the opportunity for specialised training and learning. Mobile technologies have the lead role on the market in the country, yet mobile app development in Bosnia and Herzegovina is very limited. Investing in mobile app development sector is both promising and profitable,” says Oručević, adding that ZenDev is a young company, launched as a start-up 2.5 years ago.
“We are currently 21 strong, but the demand for workforce is still there. Most of our cooperation is with the Scandinavian countries. When it comes to ICT solutions, BiH is in the golden middle as we offer quality solutions for an affordable value,” he concludes.
Investment in learning and development
Gabrijela Andrejaš, Marketing Manager with Cape Ann Enterprises from Tuzla, believes that companies, institutions and academia must actively invest in learning and development when it comes to ICT sector: “Technologies, skills and demands are constantly evolving so training and skills development are very much needed to keep pace.”
Cape Ann Enterprises (CA Design d.o.o.) is a full-stack software development company. Founded almost a decade ago, the company services clients mainly in the US and Canada in helping design, develop and manage complex software services. The support of the LID project helped with the investments in the technological development of the company, as well as in re-training of workforce in order to reach a higher level of productivity and create new jobs through specialised education and training.
“The hiring of a training manager proved to be a key step – he first analysed the situation and needs of the company and its team, and by developing and implementing a special work programme, he thus helped perfect and complete the set of skills that the company as a whole has at its disposal. This has once again singled out our company as an excellent place for employment and training. In addition to training sessions, CA Design staff attended a full range of trainings and seminars in various fields. These skills will allow for a wider range of clients from different fields,” says Andrejaš.
Thanks to trainings, CA Design has 13 new team members since the start of project implementation.
Industrial production requires skilled workers
In addition to the demand for skilled workers in ICT sector, the lack of qualified and skilled labour is also evident in the metal industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many companies must train workers before hiring since the education system in BiH is generally unadjusted to the needs of the labour market.
Twenty-two-year old Miljan Dobrić is in charge of quality control for finished metal parts manufactured by TIKT Manufaktura from Gradiška. Although he graduated high school, he has been with the company for almost two years, measuring the precision of manufactured parts. Together with his colleagues, he clears further continuation of production.
“I was looking for a job, and was offered an opportunity here. I liked it so I stayed,” he says, adding that many young people leave Gradiška to go to Banja Luka or abroad since they see no progress and do not have enough jobs.
Although only shortly in the metal industry, he sees potential in CNC (computer numerical control) machines, and says that this is “a job where you can always advance”.
Miljan works as an operator, among other, on a new coordinate measuring machine that controls the quality of product manufacturing in TIKT Manufaktura, producing parts for CNC machines and racing cars, employing 72 and exporting to the German market. The purchase of the machine is co-financed by the European Union through the Local Integrated Development (LID) project.
The company’s director, Krešimir Bodrožić, says that they had two control machines before, and that the latest one – the third one – greatly improved and simplified production processes and precision measurements.
“This third one is CNC-run, meaning that we create a programme and upload it to a machine, set up a command, and after some time, depending on how complicated the part is, the machine tells us whether everything is fine,” he says and explains that the work on earlier machines slowed down the process because it required workers to put in a lot of time and effort to measure precision.
By his account, the loss of time on measuring meant a halt in production and increase in product costs.
“We now have far less lost motion on the machines in production. Two workers are hired to operate this machine. And we think there will probably be two more in the measuring and control unit,” added Bodrožić.
Over the last two years, 630 people found jobs through the LID project, which has supported partner SMEs, local communities, farmers, young entrepreneurs, and introduced the concept of a crowdfunding academy to those with business start-up ideas. The project supports the most promising industries in Bosnia and Herzegovina – agriculture, food, textile, metal, wood and ICT sector, and stimulates business activities through technical support and co-financing.