Author Archives: chris

To What Extent are SMEs Exploiting Social Media Effectively?

It is clear that the internet and, more recently, social media are transforming the way we think about business. How are small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) dealing with this transformation? New research in Romania has uncovered how companies are attempting to engage with their audience via social media. The findings are food-for-thought for SME managers seeking to improve visibility without hurting their bottom line.

Online and social media marketing campaigns are attractive to SMEs for a number of reasons, cost-effectiveness being one of them. However, research shows that the required expertise is seldom available in-house and SME managers are looking further afield.

Of the companies which have conducted social media marketing campaigns in Romania, for example, 22% have turned to specialised agencies for guidance. The most cited reasons for this were experience in the field (49%) and efficiency (11%), according to a press release by GfK Romania

Some companies did not contract with an agency because they did not have the available budget (48%), or did not feel the service to be necessary (20%.)

Possibly the most interesting finding, however, is that fewer than 1 in 5 SME managers (17%) felt that they could call on internal staff who are proficient in social media. When paired with the following statistic, an intriguing picture emerges: more than half of SME managers surveyed reported that they did delegate social media responsibility to somebody in their team. In a significant number of SMEs, therefore, employees who are unfamiliar with the various media are being tasked with social media development.

So, how does the YouPro project fit in?

The project trains young people (aged 18-24) in cutting-edge social media and online marketing techniques, and pairs them will local SMEs where they will undertake a work placement. The internee will produce a tangible output, such as a short promotional video or new facebook page that describes the company’s products and services. The aim is to provide the injection of expertise that SME managers need and ease staff workload.

The project’s aim is to push small business forward and to improve the competitiveness of SMEs in Romania and across Europe.

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by chris | Categories: Uncategorized |

The Need for YouPro: Employment Situation in Romania

In Romania at present, young people aged 15-25 years have great problems when it comes to finding a job. There are multiple causes, but the lack of experience and specific competences among young graduates, regardless of education, is one of the reasons most cited by employers when it comes to choosing their future employees.

Thus, in late 2012, the unemployment rate in Romania was at 6.9%. But the most affected age group was 15-24 years, at which unemployment was three times higher – 22,7% – according to data from the National Statistics Institute (see below). Even if we compare the situation of Romania with other countries in the European Union, we cannot say that the situation in Romania is a better.

According to a study published by Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union), in Romania from the total of 2,297.500 young people aged 18-24 years, 16,5% are not involved in education, employment, or training system (thereby falling into the category of ‘NEET’ – not in education, employment or training). This percentage is however approaching the EU average, which is 16.1%. The same statistical data shows that in countries like Holland, Iceland, Denmark or the Czech Republic, the percentage of young people who do not have a job and are also not involved in education is less than 10%. However, developed countries like the UK, Spain or Italy stand much worse regarding this problem, the rate of young people not in school nor in the labor market exceeding, in some cases, 20%.

You can find more information about this issue in this Press Release (external link, Romanian) by the National Institute of Statistics, Employment and Unemployment, for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Also see this Eurostat study of education and employment patterns among young people in the EU.

by chris | Categories: Uncategorized |

Launch Meeting in Vienna

The YouPro Launch Meeting took place in Vienna in October 2012. Representatives from all project partner organisations gathered together at Berufsförderungsinstitut BFI Wien to discuss project aims and objectives and to put a plan in place to progress towards them.

Launch Meeting

First, Project Director Graham Wood set out his vision for the project. Then, Project Manager Chris Mortimer led a discussion about how the project partners would work together at the operational level. Jose Pacifico and Susana Bronze of Portuguese partner organisation ETIC, in charge of the first phase of the project, then made their suggestions for how to understand the relevant issues in each country at a local level.

After three days hard work and travel the partners also had the opportunity to sample Vienna’s delicious Wiener Schnitzel!

by chris | Categories: Uncategorized |
This project is funded by the Leonardo Transfer of Innovation Programme which is part of the European Union's Lifelong Learning Programme. The content of this website reflects the views only of the author, and the EU cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.