About the ILO in Albania

Informality and high youth inactivity persist

Since the fall of the communist regime, Albania grew from one of the poorest countries in Europe in the 1990s to an upper-middle income country. As of 2014, Albania has been an official candidate for EU accession. Accession negotiations started in 2020. Labour market outcomes gradually improved over the last years and in 2019  Albania had the highest employment rate among Western Balkan economies (67%). The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020/21 led to a temporary reduction of employment (65% in spring 2020), but employment rates quickly rebounded to the old levels in late 2020.

The key challenges of the Albanian labour market remain high youth unemployment (27% in 2019), a high rate of youth not in education, employment nor training (26% in 2019), very elevated levels of informal employment (57% in 2019), and a high percentage of the workforce employed in agriculture (42%), mostly in low skilled and low-productivity jobs.

ILO interventions offered

With permanent presence in the country since 2002 and assistance through the Decent Work Country Programs (DWCP), the ILO supports the country in overcoming the challenges. The current DWCP 2017-2021 focuses on three priorities:

I. Promoting employment and an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises,
II. Strengthened capacity of government institutions and social partners for effective social dialogue, and
III. Enhanced social protection and conditions of work.

In 2017-2020, the ILO’s development cooperation projects in Albania focused on:
  • Strengthening the State Labour and Social Service Inspectorate in advising companies and monitoring compliance with Occupational Safety and Health standards;
  • Analyzing fiscal space for social protection responses and providing integrated social services to vulnerable groups; this included a cash transfer project for dismissed female textile workers during the pandemic.
  • Technical support to the National Labour Council as the highest national platform of social dialogue on labour and social policies;
  • Support to workers’ and employers organizations to improve services to members and to represent their interests in policy debates.
  • Consolidating the  out-of-court labour dispute resolution system;
  • Extending public employment services to vulnerable groups;
  • Enhancing vocational skills’ anticipation in agricultural value chains;
  • Support to sectorial skills committees at the National Agency for Vocational Education, Training and Qualifications (NAVETQ).
Albania has ratified 54 ILO Conventions including the 8 Fundamental Conventions, the 4 Governance Conventions and 42 Technical Conventions.  Albania has initiated the procedure for the ratification of the new ILO Convention No. 190 on combatting Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.

Text last updated 5/21.