During November 2023 four focus groups on the topic “Soft Skills of Youth Needed for Engagement in
the Work sphere and Launching Entrepreneurial Business” were conducted in four widening countries –
Serbia (Nis), Albania (Tirana), Bosnia & Herzegovina (Banja Luka) and North Macedonia (Skopje).
The aim of this research is to gain a deeper understanding of the essential “soft” skills that will facilitate
young people’s successful integration into the workforce when seeking employment or starting their
own business. It starts from the assumption that young people acquire a necessary minimum of
technical knowledge through formal education (the so-called “hard” skills necessary for the successful
realization of work tasks defined by the job description), but so-called “soft” skills are also crucial for
successful integration into the workforce and later career development. In this research, “soft” skills
refer to a set of interpersonal skills such strong communication skills, leadership, empathy, emotional
intelligence, conflict resolution, negotiation, etc. but also personal qualities, attitudes, motives, patterns
of behavior, work ethic, etc.
The research instrument consisted of a Protocol that contains a list of discussion topics formulated in
accordance with the fundamental categories of “soft” skills. The data has been processed through
qualitative analysis, which includes presenting the interviewees’; opinions on the topics discussed during
the focus group, creating criteria for grouping responses, and categorizing responses based on those
criteria. The plan involves the implementation of one focus group with experts in the field of Human
Resource Management (HRМ) and successful entrepreneurs.