Working in Serbia



The unemployment rate is considered a challenge for this recovering country at 16.6%. It has a labour force of about 3107 million people, 39.3% of which are formally employed, and 19.7% are labour employees.

The largest population of workers is aged from 45 to 54 years old, comprising about 987,776 of the total number of employed individuals.  

The government arm in charge of generating employment through the implementation of labour market programs is the National Employment Service. However, because of limited resources and a dwindling number of employers, their main function has turned to job search assistance and information dissemination to the unemployed. In 2005, it allocated funds on programs for additional education and training.  

The main sectors of employment are:

  • Services industry - 55.6%
  • Agriculture - 23.9%,
  • Manufacturing - 20.5%

Serbia recently adopted the National Employment Strategy which is expat-friendly. Through this, the focus has turned to efforts in acquiring foreign investments and simplifying business processes to encourage domestic savings. 4 p.m. includes removal of barriers to entry, including full access to property for foreigners

Work culture

More than packing your best suit, another important factor for success in working in Serbia is an understanding of the country's work culture.  

Working hours are from 8 a.m to 4p.m. Punctuality is appreciated and expected. You can be late, but no more than 15 minutes. Meetings, especially first ones, can be lengthy as the Serbians wish to establish a good working relationship right from the beginning. More so, meetings are usually pre-scheduled at least two to three days before the date.  

Giving presents on the first meeting is not usual between business partners, but token gifts are welcome when a long-term business relationship has been established. Non-verbal communication is a trait of the Serbian culture, so be careful with your actions, because more often than not, you will be judged for that.  

Serbians are particularly adamant with adherence to rules and regulations. In addition, they believe in an individual's success and creativity in helping a business improve.  

Do not be offended, though, if you find your colleagues a little cold or aloof since it's part of their Dinaric influences. A display of emotion in the workplace is not a trait of their work culture.  

The concept of masculinism is also a trait of their work culture, and males tend to dominate positions of power. They also have a strong belief in their competence, and their ability to control their future. Past and present experiences with a business partner or an employee are also important to them, so make sure to keep those working relationships on a positive note.  


See more

Continue reading:

Work Guide

Expat Services in Serbia

Don't miss our Expat Services in Serbia