While Slovenia was severely hit by the global financial crisis, the government responded with a number of reforms aimed at supporting domestic growth and demand. Labour market conditions are improving and the economic recovery that started to take effect in 2014 has helped to bring unemployment down to 8.0% in 2016 from a peak of 10% in 2013. However, vulnerabilities remain in the labour market, particularly in view of the low participation rate of older workers and the prevalence of skills shortages and mismatches in certain occupations. For these reasons, implementing effective employment and skills strategies at the local level is key to stimulate inclusive growth and generate more and better quality jobs for all Slovenians.

Over recent years, the work of the OECD LEED Programme on Designing Local Skills Strategies, Building Flexibility and Accountability into Local Employment Services, Breaking out of Policy Silos, Leveraging Training and Skills Development in SMEs, and Skills for Competitiveness has demonstrated that local strategies to boost skills and job creation require the participation of many different actors across employment, training, economic development, and social welfare portfolios. Employers, unions and the non-profit sector are also key partners in ensuring that education and training programmes provide the skills needed in the labour markets of today and the future.

The series of OECD Reviews on Local Job Creation deliver evidence-based and practical recommendations on how to better support employment and economic development at the local level. This report on Slovenia takes a case study approach, analysing the management and implementation of policies in the Drava and South-East regions of Slovenia. It provides a comparative framework to understand the role of local labour market policy in matching people to jobs, engaging employers in skills development activities, as well as fostering new growth and economic development opportunities. It includes practical policy examples of actions taken in Slovenia to help workers find better quality jobs, while also stimulating productivity and inclusion.

Going forward, the government should seek opportunities to work closer with employers to strengthen their ownership of the employment and skills development system. Public procurement policies, targeted financing mechanisms (e.g. training subsidies and tax credits) as well as local anchor institutions can play an important role in encouraging employers to adopt high-performance workplace practices and create incremental innovation within a local economy. It is also important to better join-up activities to promote better quality jobs. Local public employment services in Slovenia can play a stronger role in coordinating programmes among training providers and economic development agencies. The Slovenian Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy should be warmly thanked for their active participation and support of the study, and for their ongoing partnerships with the OECD.