25. 04. 2017 Corporate responsibility

The Roma as a chance for regions

The Business Leaders Forum issued another set of recommendations for companies, this time on the employment of marginalized Roma people.

Slovakia is currently in a paradoxical situation. Larger companies are demonstrably struggling with a shortage of labour, yet about 100,000 productive-age Roma are jobless.

In 2035 our labour market will be short of about 500,000 people. We will be in need of employees and contributors to the social system. The Roma thus represent a chance of survival of many regions in Slovakia,” says Anton Marcinčin, Government Plenipotentiary for the Least Developed Districts.

Already now there are examples of solutions and functioning systems for the employment of the marginalized Roma. The Business Leaders Forum issued another set of recommendations for companies which want to be socially responsible. Examples from practical life can help them fill the existing vacancies and take a responsible approach to the community they work in.

Download the recommendations here: 

What works and what helps

In 2002 U. S. Steel Košice launched a project entitled Equal Opportunities focused on the marginalized Roma, a community with a 100% unemployment rate in the vicinity of the company. At the beginning the management of the company made an offer to the municipality to create 35 jobs. In further stages the number of people involved in the project increased to 150. All of the people were employed in the ironworks through the municipality.

The project wouldn’t have been successful without networking beyond the structures in the business. Its success lay in good cooperation with municipalities, schools, and other stakeholders,” says Ján Bača from U. S. Steel Košice.

Whirpool Slovakia neighbours on the municipality of Veľká Lomnica with a large Roma community. It was in this community where the company started quite a massive recruitment in 2014. The management of the company regards this measure as a natural response to the labour market in the district of Poprad. About 20% of the company’s employees are constituted by the Roma people. They take up not only the positions of workers but also specialized job positions.

The Roma people constitute a firm and responsible part of the company. However, this would have happened without significant endeavour on our part. It took us three years to prepare and integrate them. It took us half a year on average to prepare a qualified operator who would be able to move between job positions,” adds Jaroslav Grygar from Whirlpool Slovakia.

Based on examples of further companies, the Business Leaders Forum recommends devoting time to supporting the family relations and personal life of Roma employees. It should be an integral part of a successful job policy. Companies can also use the capacities and experience of schools and non-profit organizations to provide a tailor-made training for potential employees. In order to overcome initial problems related to training for an occupation or in order to deal with problems at workplace, companies can turn to community centres as partners at local level.


These recommendations have been drawn from Action Oriented Forum – From Companies’ Needs to Solving the Unemployment of Marginalized Roma People, which was held on 2 December 2016 A similar event will also be held by the Pontis Foundation at the end of 2017.

The partners of the event

Who we are

We create strong and meaningful linkages between the corporate, civic and public sectors in our three strategic topics – social innovation, philanthropy and responsible entrepreneurship. We build expertise our expertise in these issues, bring trends, promote long-term impact, and inspire.

Pontis Foundation
Zelinarska 2821 08

Phone: (+421 2) 5710 8111
Contact for media:
Phone: (+421 2) 5710 8113