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OECD Economic Surveys: Slovak Republic 2017

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Slovak Republic 2017

Slovakia’s economy continues to perform extremely well both in terms of macroeconomic outcomes and public finances. Employment is rising, prices have been stable, and the external account is near balance. Poverty and income inequality are low, and the country’s environmental footprint has improved markedly. However, population ageing, projected to be one of the steepest in the OECD on the basis of the expected change in the old-age dependency ratio, will pose policy and social challenges in the decades ahead. They will be compounded by the persistent emigration of young, particularly educated people, as well as the weak integration of the numerous Roma. Other concerns are the work disincentives faced by women and high long-term unemployment. Widely different labour market outcomes between Bratislava and the eastern part of the country also contribute to large regional per capita GDP gaps and a dual functioning of the economy. The authorities have continued their reform process over the last few years to address these issues, which require improving public-sector efficiency. Making growth more inclusive for the Roma, women and the chronically unemployed will require further reforms in education, health care and the labour market, along with better infrastructure.

SPECIAL FEATURES: ENHANCING SKILLS; IMPROVING THE HEALTH-CARE SYSTEM

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Enhancing advanced skills to better meet labour market demand

Changing labour market demand and moving up the global value chain requires high-skilled workers. However, the share of adults with high skill levels in the Slovak Republic is one of the lowest in the OECD. Improving the education system would raise quality and better align students’ skills with new labour market needs and help them face further changes in the work environment. The contribution of the tertiary education system to skills improvement is one of the lowest in the OECD. It has to open itself more to the outside world: by easing the conditions for foreign professors and researchers to teach at Slovak universities, promoting internationally respected research and intensifying the co-operation with the business sector. Another challenge is to secure an adequate supply of skilled workers in the face of rapid population ageing and increasing emigration of young high-skilled workers. Ageing of the population will not only lead to shrinking labour supply, but a growing part of the workforce will need to be retrained. Bolstering the supply of skills requires lifelong learning and attracting skilled migrants, including returning Slovaks.

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