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Socio-economic profile

The World Bank identified Turkey as a ‘dynamic emerging-market economy’: it is an upper-middle-income country and a member of the OECD. With growth at 8.5% in 2011 and inflation a real risk, there were fears that the economy was showing some signs of overheating but a monetary policy has been put in place which should bring about stable, long-term growth.

Slowing growth impacts on job creation

Labour markets will be affected by the slowdown in growth, but forecasts suggest that although the decrease in unemployment is set to slow down, it will continue to fall. Average GDP per person is under a third of the EU average, and there has been a rapid transformation in the economy from agriculture to industry and services.

While there is strong urban drift, 24% of the population still works in agriculture. Migration to cities, and the changes that this brings to labour patterns, causes women to withdraw from the labour force. Comparison with the rest of the EU’s employment figures highlights how women are challenged in the job market.

Matching qualifications to job opportunities

Over half the work force has no more than primary school education but trends show there will be a need for more skilled workers and fewer opportunities for low education occupations. Secondary education enrolment rates are on the rise, up from 40% in 2000 to 65% in 2009-2010, but rates for girls in education drag behind those for boys.

Turkey has embraced an ambitious vocational training programme. It aims to train 200 000 unemployed people a year, leading to one million by 2016, and use incentives to encourage businesses to hire participants at the end of their courses.

Targeting support in Turkey

To help countries on their way to joining the EU, a fund called the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, or IPA, has been set up by the European Union.

The IPA-financed projects dealing with the development of human resources, have three main priorities: getting and keeping people in work; improving the education and training systems to ensure the country has a flexible and adaptable workforce, and including disadvantaged groups in the labour force.

The Human Resources Development Operational Programme (HRDOP) for 2007-2013, indicates Turkey needs to focus on education, training and social inclusion.

Getting more people into work and keeping them there

IPA is helping Turkey to support groups that are vulnerable to unemployment. Youth unemployment (15-24) is running particularly high at nearly twice the national level: 18.7% of young people were unemployed in comparison to a 10.1% average rate. When the job market gets tight it is the qualified that find work, but Turkey has a mismatch between the skills school leavers have and those demanded by the market. In 2005 only 12% of the labour force had been to high school or university.

Putting everyone’s skills to good use

Members of the Roma community are also facing difficulties on the job market, and the Turkish Employment Agency is working to identify which IPA programmes could help get them into work. Turkey is clearly interested in improving the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups, but this is held back by the lack of data and of experience of human resource management.

Improvements to the education system so far

Compulsory pre-school education was extended to 71 provinces in 2011 and the school leaving age rose to 12. For older learners, a regulatory framework now exists for a National Vocational Qualifications System.

IPA – support where it is needed

The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) supports the candidate and potential candidate countries to develop in a way that tackles social challenges and benefits the entire society.  It is based on the strong sense of solidarity that exists between the EU and the countries at its borders - countries withwhich the EU shares enduring commercial, historical and cultural ties. IPA is directed towards countries that are on the pathway towards joining the EU.

The amount of IPA funding committed to Turkey for human resource development in the 2007 – 2013 period achieves around € 474 million.

37.4% went to supporting employment, to:

  • Promote the employment of women;
  • Increase youth employment;
  • Promote registered employment; and
  • Improve public employment services.

36.8% was allocated to education, to:

  • Increase school enrolment rates especially for girls;
  • Improve the quality of education offered;
  • Boost the link between education and the job market; and
  • Modernise vocational and training systems.

Around 20% is used to promote an inclusive labour market while the remaining 6% is spent on helping the relevant bodies reach the above goals.

Financial Plan

The Human Resources Development operational programme, adopted by Commission at the end of 2007 and last amended in October 2012, saw an EU contribution of €474.06 million for the years 2007 to 2013.

IPA Human Resources Development allocation from the Commission, in million euros: