(Un)employment and labour market

Iceberg model and Employment Issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina

I have firstly encountered Iceberg Model somewhere on the Internet during 2017, in one of Leyla Acaroglu’s articles/blogs. It immediately made sense to me and I copied it to my notepad. In short, it’s a tool used to gain a deeper understanding of things. It illustrates that things we see or read about in newspapers (events) are only a tip of iceberg. There’s much more of iceberg under the water, just as there are things that influence things we see or read about, but are not easily visible.

A few days ago I tried to find Leyla’s post, but failed. Instead, I found Systems Thinking With The Iceberg: A Tool for Multi-stakeholder System Sight which explains it nicely.

In order to help myself understand (un)employment in Bosnia and Herzegovina better, I decided to give the iceberg model a try. Here are the first results.

right click -> open image in the new tab to see full size image


  • Poor working conditions in industry: overtime work, irregular salaries, “bossing”, incomplete salaries at the end of the month, poor salaries…
  • Employers report that high school graduates don’t have appropriate knowledge
  • Employers often don’t register their employees (they usually do it later, when state offers incentives for employment)
  • Enterprises can’t find workers
  • Unemployed persons show poor interest for employment programs (note: high school graduates show best interest)
  • Enterprises mostly need low skilled workers
  • Export of B&H industry is growing
  • Diplomas can be bought
  • Low level of foreign investment
  • Salaries in public sector are 2 times higher than in a private sector
  • Children (and their parents) don’t want to go to high schools for industrial professions


  • Workers are leaving B&H, especially young people (large percentage of them is finding jobs abroad with help of Employment Offices)
  • High-income families are also leaving (some of the reasons I found in interviews online are general uncertainty and lack of possibilities for professional advancement)
  • Both unemployed and employed persons are looking for jobs in a public sector

STRUCTURES: (what I found interesting and useful is that you design interventions at this level)

  • Enterprises must offer their products for low price to be competitive (since without Research&Development and final products, they don’t have many possibilities), so they are making savings by paying low salaries
  • More employees in the public sector bring more votes
  • Partocracy is in power instead of democracy


  • Ingenuity at the expense of the state
  • “If others are doing it so will I”
  • “It’s better to do nothing for nothing, then to work for nothing”
  • general belief that it’s a shame not to finish a college

This post will be continued…

P.S. If you have any comment or additional insight, please don’t hesitate to write it in the comments section below. 

About the author

Pavle Miovčić


  • Hi,

    I am writing to you regarding your article I just read. I don’t live in Bosnia but I was born there and regular travel back.
    I am deeply saddened by the working conditions for worker in a range of industries.
    On one of my recent travels I was made aware by a number or people the poor and subhuman working conditions in Olip Travnik. I myself am born in Travnik and have a number of family both past and presently who have worked there. I was appalled to learn that recently workers were having their pay cut by $200KM !! Note they were only earn $600KM per month to begin in, you can understand what impact this would have on workers and their families. I was shocked to also learn that worker unable to use the bathroom and often had to wait in long long lines, at tiles being refused permission to use the bathroom! Can you imagine having to ask for permission to use the bathroom in 2019! It’s subhuman treatment and very humiliating for them.
    There is a long list of issues with this company but what good would it be?
    I am deeply saddened by the treatment of current workers, it’s a sad and horses daily reality for them to face.

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, that is sometimes the case. There’s another post that you might find interesting regarding why people in Bosnia and Herzegovina quit their jobs. It’s in Serbian though, but Google translate will do its job (just use Croatian->English, it works better).


      “During the job interview, I was told that the salary was 370 KM, but at the end of the month I received 200 KM because of product write-offs (to which I pointed during work, but no one listened to me)”

      “I couldn’t stand it mentally. They’re all bosses, I’m just a worker. ”

      “All day long on my feet, with standards that are impossible to meet.”

      “Irregular pay. I don’t care what the salary is. I do not have the qualifications for a higher position and a higher salary, but it is very important for me to know that I will receive a salary every month because I live from it. ”

      “I worked 17 hours a day. I just go home to sleep “…

Make a comment