A laboratory technician in Montenegro
Olga Jokanović is 27 and lives with her husband and his parents in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. After graduating in agricultural sciences from the university there, she began a three-year part-time master’s degree in dairy and cheesemaking technologies alongside her job. She is now writing a thesis on traditional cheesemaking in Montenegro.
Income, basic costs, retirement provisions
For the past two years Jokanović has been employed as a food technician at a dairy in Danilovgrad, working six days a week, from 7am until 3pm. She is in charge of quality control of the raw ingredients. Being newly qualified, she earns €450 (£390) a month. Of this, €2 goes towards unemployment insurance, €38 to health insurance and €68 into a pension scheme, to which her employer contributes a further €46. She does not pay rent because she lives in her husband’s family house. She pays €55 towards water, electricity and waste disposal bills. She spends €150 a month on food, and €40 on internet and phone services.
What does working mean to you?
I want a better future for myself and my family. I find it satisfying to be developing new standards of hygiene in my job, and to be productive and useful.
What would you like to change in your life?
I would like to travel more, and I need more leisure time. I would also like to work abroad, to gain experience and meet new people.
What are your biggest problems and how do you deal with them?
I would like my efforts to be properly recognised. By myself, by my family and by my boss! I work very hard for that every day.
What do you do when you want to give yourself a treat?
I buy myself something nice, or watch films. I learned German so I could watch German TV series. Just having a day off work is special. Or I go out to a restaurant with my husband and his parents.
What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about earning a living for one year?
Travel, travel, travel!
Montenegro has applied to join the European Union. What are your thoughts on that?
My family and friends are fearful about the changes, but I believe a number of things will improve, in terms of legal protection, education and employment. To me, the EU means investment in rural development and export opportunities for Montenegrin products. But we also need protection for our regional food specialities.
Population: 623,000 inhabitants
GDP per capita (2015): €5,876 (£4,289)
Human Development Index: 48th place (out of 188 countries)
Current average costs
1 pot of yoghurt: €0.69
100 grams of regional cheese: €0.48
1 bar of chocolate: €1.35
Visit to a restaurant (with drinks): €12 – €15
1 ticket to the cinema: €4
1 litre of petrol: €1.20