Slovenia is a Central European country, bordering on Austria (to the north), Italy (to the west), Hungary (to the north-east) and Croatia (to the east and south). It has a surface area of 20 273 km2 and a population of 2 110 547.
The country is divided into two cohesion regions. The East Slovenia cohesion region comprises eight statistical regions (Pomurska, Primorsko-Notranjska, Podravska, Posavska, Zasavska, Koroška, Savinjska and South-East Slovenia), while the West Slovenia cohesion region comprises four statistical regions (Central Slovenia, Gorenjska, Goriška and Obalno-Kraška). They differ from each other in terms of geographical characteristics and level of economic development. The regions in the western part of the country are the most developed and are mainly service-oriented, while the eastern part of the country is less developed, more sparsely populated and more oriented towards farming and industrial activity.
Central Slovenia, where the country’s capital is located, is the strongest region in terms of economic development, and is the administrative, economic, cultural and scientific centre of the country. As many as a third of all Slovenian companies are situated in Central Slovenia. The region also has the highest salaries in the country. According to data from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SURS), there are more jobs in this region than the economically active population. For this reason, many residents from other regions commute to work in this region, including from Zasavska, where the percentage of the workforce in employment commuting to work in another region is the highest in the country. The largest numbers of people in Central Slovenia are employed in public administration and defence, compulsory social security activities, education, healthcare, trade, hospitality and transport, followed by professional, scientific, technical and other business activities, in contrast to the majority of the other regions, where manufacturing predominates. The only exception is the Obalno-kraška region, which, due to its focus on tourism, has the largest number of employees in the trade, catering and transport sectors.
The region where strong commercial performance and export-oriented companies have given rise to salaries that are consequently higher than the Slovenian average is South-East Slovenia. This is the largest region geographically, covering 2 675 km2. The region is dominated by the production of pharmaceutical preparations and the automotive industry.
Gorenjska is a statistical region with one of the highest employment rates and the lowest registered unemployment rate, and joins Central Slovenia and South-East Slovenia in being among the top most developed Slovenian regions. With its predominately Alpine location, it is one of Slovenia’s tourism-focused regions. However, the highest employment rate by sector is in manufacturing, followed by trade, hospitality and transport.
The Pomurska region, which is situated in the north-east of the country, differs most of all from Central Slovenia in terms of level of development. This region is predominantly focused on agriculture, as well as on wellness and spa tourism. Its industrial enterprises are mostly engaged in the food-processing and metalworking industries, with civil engineering also more prominent than in other regions. The region has the highest registered unemployment rate and the lowest employment rate in the country.
Besides the Pomurska region, the East Slovenia cohesion region includes Podravska, the second largest region in Slovenia, which borders Austria (Steiermark) to the north and Croatia to the south. The region is home to many enterprises active in manufacturing, and the service sector has also undergone development. The region’s development strengths include its geostrategic position, industrial tradition, the development of transport infrastructure, and the level of integration of the research infrastructure of the University of Maribor and other institutions of learning into the business sphere. However, the region still has a very low employment rate.
Despite the increasing share of the service industry, industrial enterprises remain a major source of employment in Slovenia. In addition to manufacturing industries, especially metalworking and the production of electrical appliances, the production of rubber and plastic products, the production of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers, and the production of other machinery and equipment, the main sectors and sources of employment in the country are trade, education, healthcare and social security activities, construction, professional, scientific and technical activities, transport and storage. The companies ranking as the largest employers in the country are: Mercator d.d., Ljubljana, Krka d.d., Novo mesto, Pošta Slovenije d.o.o., Maribor, Lek d.d., Ljubljana, Gorenje d.o.o., Velenje, Engrotuš d.o.o., Celje, Revoz d. d., Novo mesto, Telekom Slovenije d. d., Ljubljana, Petrol d. d., Ljubljana, SŽ – Infrastruktura d. o. o., Ljubljana, Mahle Electric Drives Slovenija d. o. o, Šempeter pri Gorici, Perutnina Ptuj d. o. o., SŽ-VIT d. o. o., Ljubljana, Hella Saturnus Slovenija d. o. o., Ljubljana, LTH Castings d. o. o., Škofja Loka, Luka Koper d. d., and Unior d. d., Zreče.
In 2022, the Slovenian economy recovered rapidly from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, especially in the first half of the year. In the second half of the year, the situation deteriorated and economic growth slowed. As a result of the war in Ukraine, uncertainty has increased, and is also present this year. Businesses and consumers have faced shortages of raw materials and energy and rising inflation. The situation has improved somewhat following the introduction of government measures to mitigate the energy crisis, but the export sector remains among the hardest hit, while in manufacturing the most energy-intensive sectors are feeling the crisis, trade is affected by the decline in purchasing power of the population and high prices, and the scope of services is declining, while construction activity continues to increase. .
Despite more subdued economic growth, employment in the country remains at a record high. Due to structural disparities and smaller generations of young people entering the labour market, many employers continue to face a shortage of adequate human resources in 2023. In a context of low unemployment, this applies in particular to the sectors of construction, hospitality, transport and storage, manufacturing, health and social care and information technology. Employers are therefore increasingly choosing to employ foreign workers.
The average level of registered unemployment in 2022 compared to the previous year fell by 23.8%, while at the end of March this year the Employment Service registered 16.9% fewer unemployed persons than in March 2022. According to the latest data for January 2023, those in active employment rose on an annual level by 1.9%.
The sectors of activity in which the number of people in employment decreased in January 2023 compared with the same month last year were agriculture and hunting, forestry, fishing, mining and quarrying, financial and insurance activities, public administration and defence, and compulsory social security activities. In all other activities, the number of persons in employment increased on an annual basis, with the highest growth in construction, and above-average growth in information and communication activities, other professional, medical and technical activities, accommodation and food services, water supply, sewerage and waste management, environmental remediation, real estate activities, and human health and social work activities.
The drop in the number of newly unemployed persons is changing the unemployment structure. Several vulnerable groups of unemployed people with inadequate education or other barriers to employment remain registered with the Employment Service. . A comparison of unemployment in March this year and last year shows that the share of unemployed with primary education has increased over the year, accounting for a third of all unemployed. The share of unemployed with tertiary education has also increased to 17.1%, while the share of unemployed with vocational education and with secondary professional and general education has decreased. The first group fell to 24.7% and the second to 25.5%. In terms of age breakdown, the share of young people aged up to 29 years is rising again, accounting for 18.5% in March 2023, while the share of unemployed aged 40-49 is also rising, but the share of unemployed aged 50 and over is the highest, at 39.3%. The share of long-term unemployed is no longer increasing due to the activities of the Employment Service, but this accounts for 46.9% of the total registered unemployed.
In January 2023, the registered unemployment rate in Slovenia was 5.6%, 1.3 percentage points lower than in January 2022. The Gorenjska (3.6%) and Goriška (3.7%) regions had the lowest registered unemployment rates. This is followed by the Primorsko-notranjska region (4.2%) and the Osrednjeslovenska region (4.9%). The following regions had unemployment rates above the national average: Obalno-kraška (5.7%), Jugovzhodna Slovenija (5.8%), Zasavska (5.9%), Koroška (5.9%), Savinjska (6.4%), Podravska (6.6%), Posavska (7.0%) and Pomurska (8.4%).
According to internationally comparable figures from the Active and Inactive Population survey conducted by the Statistical Office, Slovenia’s survey unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2022 was 3.5%. The activity rate of the population was 58.3% and the employment rate was 56.3%. Compared to the corresponding quarter in 2021, the activity rate declined by 0.7 percentage points, the labour force participation rate remained unchanged, while the unemployment rate declined by one percentage point.
With the increase in economic activity, there was a major expansion in employment opportunities. There is major demand from employers, but a shortfall in appropriately qualified HR, especially in construction, health and social care, IT, transport, warehousing and hospitality.
Demand will be the greatest for the following (unmet labour demand):
- 0310 Soldiers
- 2142 Civil engineers
- 2144 Mechanical engineers and related workers
- 2151 Electrical engineers
- 2211 Generalist medical practitioners
- 2212 Specialist medical practitioners
- 2221 Nursing professionals
- 2264 Physiotherapists
- 2266 Audiologists and speech therapists
- 2411 Accounting, auditing, etc. experts
- 2512 Software developers
- 3115 Mechanical engineering technicians
- 3221 Nursing associate professionals
- 5120 Cooks
- 5131 Waiters
- 5321 Carers or nurses employed in health services
- 5322 Health and social care and home care professions
- 5414 Security guards
- 7112 Bricklayers and related workers
- 7114 Concrete placers, concrete finishers and related workers
- 7115 Carpenters and joiners
- 7121 Roofers
- 7126 Plumbers and pipe fitters
- 7129 Building finishers and workers in related trades not elsewhere classified
- 7212 Welders and flamecutters
- 7214 Structural-metal preparers and erectors
- 7222 Toolmakers and related workers
- 7223 Metalworking machine tool setters and operators
- 7233 Agricultural and industrial machinery mechanics and repairers
- 7411 Building and related electricians
- 7412 Electrical mechanics and fitters
- 7511 Butchers, fishmongers and related food preparers
- 8332 Heavy truck and lorry drivers
- 9313 Unskilled workers in high constructions
Persons with only primary school education make up the bulk of the unemployed. These are often persons without adequate work experience or skills, or who face a variety of other obstacles to employment. It is also harder to employ persons with certain for the most part social science qualifications, where there are more job seekers than positions, or this involves non-typical forms of employment. Our assessment is that in the coming period greater difficulties finding employment will be experienced by the following (labour surpluses):
- 2161 Architects
- 2166 Graphic and multimedia designers
- 2431 Sales, advertising and marketing professionals
- 2632 Sociologists, anthropologists and related professionals
- 2633 Philosophers, historians and political scientists
- 2642 Journalists
- 2643 Translators, interpreters and other linguists
- 3343 Administrative and executive secretaries
- 3431 Photographers
- 3432 Design, decorations, arrangement professionals and similar
- 3521 Broadcasting and audiovisual technicians
- 4120 Secretaries (general)
- 4221 Clerks in tourism and travel agencies
- 4222 Call centre information providers
- 4226 Receptionists (except hotel receptionists)
- 4312 Statistical, finance and insurance clerks
- 5230 Cashiers, ticket vendors, etc.