A report on developing a labor market reform agenda with the aim of empowering women

Commissioned by: The World Bank 
Project duration: January 16 - June 25, 2024
Project manager: Marina Tkalec
CollaboratorsLea-Karla Matić

There is a significant gap in access to economic opportunities, with a large number of women and young people excluded from the labor market. Croatia has low fertility rates and an increasing life expectancy, which results in a rapid decrease in the number of working age population. Women, young people and older groups have low employment rates, with women's employment rates lower than men's in all age groups despite equality in education. NEET rates are high for young people, but especially among women, and women tend to leave the labor market after having children due to social norms that place a disproportionate number of informal caregiving responsibilities on them and because of the existing gender gap that puts women at a disadvantage and directs women towards informal duties of care. Furthermore, sorting into tasks that require presence on site is also present. Although employment rates are higher among households with children, the gender gap in employment is greatest when the youngest child is less than 6 years old. Disparities in employment harm women's skill development, job prospects and outcomes. In order to promote a better work-life balance for women to increase their economic participation, there is a need for action to provide more flexible labor market options, increase the availability of formal childcare and change the sectoral composition of the economy to enable a better balance between life and work.

The result of the project are analyses and recommendations that serve to inform the Government of the Republic of Croatia about policy reforms that can improve the quantity and quality of employment with a focus on reducing the gap in opportunities for women and young people.

RESEARCH AREA: Labor market and competencies