MEET THE DIRECTOR: What has been the impact of the pandemic in the region?
Markus Pilgrim, Director of the ILO Office for Central and Eastern Europe talks about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on labour markets in the region, what the ILO has done to mitigate the impact and what the emerging trends are in employment. The pandemic led to a severe economic recession in the region, with about 8% of working hours lost in 2020, an equivalent of 10 million jobs. These losses translated into an increase in inactivity, many people dropping out of the labour market. The ILO CEE Office started to collect solid evidence on the impact of the pandemic in spring 2020, and produced assessment reports in four Western Balkan countries, which led to several policy changes in these countries. In addition, the office designed job and income protection measures, such as a cash transfer project for dismissed Albanian textile workers. The next big thing is the ongoing technological transformation, fair transition towards a digital and green economy, which means a major shift from traditional to new sectors and re-skilling.