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Towards a Smart Staff Retention Policy for the Sustainable EU Integration of Serbia

Adequate administrative capacities are one of the crucial preconditions for a successful and sustainable membership of Serbia in the EU. However, experienced employees have been increasingly leaving their public administration jobs due to inadequate work conditions.

Given that over 50% of surveyed employees working on EU/IPA jobs have an intention of leaving the administration within the following year, a quality staff retention policy is essential, especially taking into account the relevance of these employees and their contribution to the EU accession and integration processes.

The research project behind this policy study was initiated with the goal of assessing and understanding the intensity and causes of staff turnover, as well as factors of motivation and demotivation, and the overall job satisfaction of employees working on EU/IPA jobs. Results were obtained through qualitative and quantitative analysis of a questionnaire filled out by 195 respondents currently working on EU/IPA jobs, two focus groups with former civil servants who have left these jobs (including both executive and managerial positions), and 16 interviews with current managers within relevant state administration bodies.

This research was conducted within the German-Serbian development cooperation programme Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the project “Support to EU Accession Negotiations in Serbia.” Additional financial support was provided by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia (SIPRU). During project implementation, CEP successfully cooperated with the European Integration Office, which is the main beneficiary.

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