Serbia loses 900 million euros a year due to young people leaving

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Every year, up to 50,000 citizens leave Serbia, mostly for economic reasons, and the economic consequences of this are the biggest because the costs of education of all people who leave Serbia during one year amount to between 960 million and 1.2 billion euros.
The study “Costs of youth emigration” states that this cost varies depending on the educational structure, and the amount of work is sufficiently indicated by the fact that the total export of information and communication services in 2018 amounted to 1.1 billion euros, while exports of the entire agricultural sector in the birth years of some 900 million euros.
The research, among other things, showed that around 34,000 euros were invested in the education of one of our citizens from preschool age, through primary and four-year high school to the end of academic studies that lasted an average of five years and ended in 2018. The costs of secondary education, which lasted four years and ended the same year, cost less than 21,000 euros, while the costs of eight-year primary education cost 13,500 euros.
More than 90 percent of young people asked to say why they are leaving said that the reason is of an economic nature – the inability to find a job in the profession, but also a job in general, but also a low-paid job or a low standard of living.
“When we look at the value of higher education and that it costs at least 30,000 euros, it is really a huge value. But on the other hand, even if that value is three times higher, it does not give what young people need, and that is a dignified life,” Ruzica Grabovac Markovic, president of the Youth Section of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions said.
After completing education, even if it is secondary, young people face the fact that they will initially receive the minimum, although, according to the law, it should be applied for only six months.
“In Serbia, it has become a practice to accept the minimum, and when you know that such a start will be, you have no desire to look for something more, dreams collapse immediately and you start looking for a one-way ticket,” she points out.
What is also wrong at that start, as she says, is that young people are expected to be responsible, hardworking, progressive, ambitious and bring profit to the employer.
“But working conditions, career progress and the amount of salary must be well earned, without indications that there really will be, but only in the story. That is why young people, even foreign citizens, want to go to school in Serbia,” emphasizes Grabovac Markovic.
She is sorry, she notes, that no one asks young people what they really want, that everyone is fighting for young people, and no one asks young people.
“But if someone asks, let them know that we need a secure job after finishing school, the possibility of career advancement, work in the profession, a salary for life, as well as favorable housing loans for young scientists and married couples. When someone fulfills that, I believe that the migration rate will be lower,” Ruzica Grabovac Markovic points out.
In the period between 2012 and 2016 alone, 245,000 people left Serbia, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is an average of 49,000 people a year. According to OECD statistics, more than half of migrants from Serbia go to Germany, about 17 percent to Austria, while Slovenia is in third place.
Most of them go to developed countries, and out of a total of 964,000 who lived outside the borders of our country six years ago, two thirds continued their lives in Western Europe.
The results of this analysis, as stated in it, showed that directly and indirectly, due to the impossibility of preventing the annual outflow of population by their employment, an annual loss of gross value added in the amount of 897.3 million euros was created, which is some 2.1 percent of GDP from 2018.
“Simply put, every working resident emigrates from Serbia with an average of at least about 19,500 euros of some future annual GDP that could have been achieved,” the report states.
Economist Ljubodrag Savic says that for two centuries people emigrated from these areas, and that today we have migration where it is characteristic that educated people leave.
“They are leaving because they can’t find a job, or they can find a job but not work in the profession, and today Serbia has such an industry structure where it doesn’t need a lot of educated people. We have the least and most educated people leaving Serbia now,” says Savic.
The happy circumstance for Serbia, as he says, is that we have influencers, people who sit in Serbia and work for world companies, especially in IT. And that stopped the more serious outflow. He points out that this is not a characteristic of Serbia alone, and he mentions the example of Romania, from which 3.5 to four million people have left since joining the EU.
“Serbia educates young people, especially doctors, and the biggest problem is not only when someone who has no experience leaves, but also those with experience, for example, doctors, for which you have the cost of schooling, but also training, in addition, we are losing the staff we need,” said Savic.
And while every country loses with the departure of people, everything, including Serbia, has certain benefits. The most significant benefit is remittances, ie money that those who emigrated send to their homeland.
In terms of the share of remittances in GDP, Serbia is at the very top of European countries, along with Albania in the first place, with a share of between five and six percent of GDP.
“Broadly speaking, if we take into account other sources in addition to workers’ remittances, such as foreign pensions, other personal transfers and income from work of our residents from temporary jobs abroad, the share in GDP is up to eight percent,” the Institute’s analysis states and notes that, for comparison, the net inflow on the basis of foreign direct investment in the last three years in Serbia averaged 6.3 percent of GDP, or some 2.5 billion euros (although it is now higher).
Savic says that we must not forget the very high revenues, of which, which range between 3.5 and 4 billion a year.
“It can be freely increased by 50 percent because many come to Serbia and spend money that is not registered in the NBS. If we were to draw the line, if we only looked at costs and revenues from an economic point of view, I think that what we gain would be above what we lose, but it is strictly economic. There are also those indirect costs, what and who will stay in Serbia if all educated people leave,” notes Ljubodrag Savic, Danas reports.