The current state of labour market and higher education integration in Azerbaijan
A well-balanced labour market is one of the conditions for the successful functioning and progressive development of any national economy. The discrepancy between demand for labor and its supply has various negative consequences: high levels of unemployment, especially among the young population, and an increase in the scale of the shadow economy. At the same time, there is a shortage of workers in certain sectors, which stymies the production activities of enterprises.
An analysis of the labour market in Azerbaijan suggests that there is a significant discrepancy between the quantity and quality of the labor force and the real needs of the economy. The measures taken by the government to regulate the market have mostly been superficial: for example, by making it more profitable for employers to retain excess labor, thereby contributing to the spread of inefficient employment. Promisingly, the interaction between employers and Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutes in Azerbaijan has intensified recently. This has involved holding joint scientific and practical conferences and seminars, attracting employers to conduct lectures and seminars, creating joint innovation centres and basic education departments, and much more.
However, these initiatives have not gone far enough to address the discrepancy between labour demand and supply. Employers have found that students’ professional training programmes lack practical components and that the education system is excessively academic. In addition, programmes developed by academic disciplines do not meet the real requirements of modern industries, and there is a lack of external quality assessment mechanisms for educational programs. Increased financial and educational resources are also required to improve the quality of professional training.