Macedonia, also known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), is located in the Balkan Peninsula of Southeast Europe. Its 9,928 square miles are home to more than 2 million citizens. Macedonia’s history can be traced back to antiquity, and its culture is a mixture of Slavic and Eastern influences. Until 1991, it was a part of Communist Yugoslavia.
Macedonia’s natural setting boasts a number of mountainous regions and a multitude of rivers and lakes. Its climate is Mediterranean to continental.
Rated as an upper-middle-income state, Macedonia gained emerging economy status after receiving its independence and moving to an open market in the 1990s. It’s been a candidate for European Union membership since 2005. The country’s main exports are chemicals, machinery, and mineral fuels. Mining, construction, trade, transportation, and accommodation make up most of its GDP.
Urbanization is steadily growing, with 57% of the population inhabiting city areas. The capital, Skopje, is home to 25% of all Macedonians—about 500,000 citizens. Many people also live in Bitola, Kumanovo, Prilep, and Tetovo, each of which has a population of less than 100,000 inhabitants.
While Macedonia has been steadily developing since the 1990s, it remains a relatively small economy. Unemployment levels have dropped from 37% in 2005 to 25% in 2016. Even though employment opportunities are increasing, many young Macedonians turn to job options with international companies. Freelancing is a great alternative to the local job market. Which is why thousands of talented remote workers offer their skills online in order to reach a wider variety of employment options.
Macedonian is the official language in Macedonia, though Albanian is spoken by 25% of the population. The literacy rate is 97.8%. English is commonly spoken by young people and in business, education, and trade.
The country has five public universities and almost 20 private higher education institutions. The top Macedonian universities are the Saints Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, the Goce Delčev University in Štip, the Saint Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola, and the South Eastern European University. Popular graduate programs offered in Macedonia include the sciences, business, and law. Many Macedonians also seek education opportunities abroad and study in neighboring countries and at universities across Europe. Freelancers offer highly skilled services in marketing, software development, and customer support fields, among others.
Macedonia has one of the lowest income levels in Europe. The average monthly salary is around 23,500 MKD, ($400). The income rates vary between regions, with urban areas earning the most—in Skopje, for example, the average salary is about 31,000 MKD ($530). However, tech and business professionals can get up to 100,000 MKD ($1,700).
Freelancers from Macedonia are often young graduates and professionals with near-native English and top skills in marketing, design, and IT. Most remote workers are based in Skopje and the rest of the bigger cities. Their payment expectations would thus match the higher salary rates for the capital.
The currency in Macedonia is Macedonian Denar (MKD). The current exchange rate is 1 USD to 58.2 MKD.
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