Education and work in the Middle East and North Africa region will determine the livelihoods of over 300 million people and drive growth and development for generations to come. As one of the youngest populations in the world, it is imperative that the region make adequate investments in education and learning that hold value in the labour market and prepare citizens for the world of tomorrow. In addition, as the global transformation of work unfolds in the region, policymakers, business leaders and workers must be prepared to proactively manage this period of transition.
• The World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index— which measures the extent to which countries and economies optimize their human capital potential through education and skills development and its deployment throughout the life-course—finds that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as a whole currently only captures 62% of its full human capital potential (compared to a global average of 65%).
• Three common themes characterize MENA’s labour markets: low but increasing levels of workforce participation by women; high rates of unemployment and under-employment, especially among the young and relatively well-educated; and large but decreasing shares of public sector employment. However, there are also marked differences between economies in the share of high, medium and low skilled jobs, the prevalence of informal work and the reliance on foreign workers.
• Across the Middle East and North Africa, a number of countries have improved the educational achievement of their younger generations at notable rates and, by 2030, the region is set to expand its tertiary educated talent pool by 50%. However, youth unemployment in the MENA region stands at 31% and university graduates are making up nearly 30% of the total unemployed pool. Workforce participation gender gaps currently remain wide across the region, ranging from just over 40% in Kuwait and Qatar to nearly 80% in Algeria and Jordan, reflecting an inefficient use of education investments.
• Across the region, high-skilled employment stands at 21% on average, while middle-skilled roles account for 66%
of all formal sector jobs. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia lead the way in the local availability of high-skilled jobs. Some of the most common types of high-skilled employment in the MENA region include commercial bankers, corporate finance specialists and accountants, schoolteachers and academics, engineers, quality assurance professionals and information technology consultants, according to data from LinkedIn.
• It has been estimated that 41% of all work activities in Kuwait are susceptible to automation, as are 46% in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, 47% in the UAE, 49% in Egypt, 50% in Morocco and Turkey and 52% in Qatar. In addition, whether jobs are declining, stable or growing, they are going through major changes to their skills profile. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs analysis found that, by 2020, 21% of core skills in the countries of the
Gulf Cooperation Council and 41% of those in Turkey will be different compared to skills that were needed in 2015. At the same time, across the MENA region, substantial potential exists for creating high value-adding formal sector jobs in a number of sectors, skills levels and work formats.
• Preparing for these disruptions and new opportunities, while address current challenges will require broad reforms and agile, iterative public-private collaboration efforts. The Forum’s New Vision for Arab Employment and Gender Parity Task Forces serve as platforms for closing skills gaps and closing gender gaps to help the region prepare for the future of work.
Employment in the Arab World – The demographic “youth bulge” represents one of the greatest opportunities, as well as one of the greatest challenges
The demographic “youth bulge” represents one of the greatest opportunities, as well as one of the greatest challenges, faced by the Arab World. With more than half of its population under 25 years old and the world’s highest regional youth unemployment rate, the Middle East and North Africa region stands at a critical juncture. This … Continue reading
Across the region, economic growth has fallen since 2011. In Egypt, Syria and Tunisia, and to a lesser extent, Lebanon, it happened mainly as a result of political instability. Since young people occupied Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt’s economy, the region’s largest, has shrunk by 7% and exports have fallen by around 40%, while the … Continue reading
One million nationals of oil-rich Gulf Arabs states may be jobless or seeking careers in a bloated public sector by 2018 unless measures are taken to create more private sector jobs, the International Monetary Fund said Continue reading
The number of job seekers in the Arab world is projected to soar to 95 million by 2030 from the current 55 million, said a report Continue reading
“For decades, these countries actually did a pretty good job of getting education for younger people, of advancing them into secondary education. Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, these are places where people were able to get college degrees, and now they’re facing two problems. “One is just the overall economic backdrop is miserable. When you have this … Continue reading
The report: Transforming Arab Economies: Travelling the Knowledge and Innovation Road, published by the World Bank, Centre for Mediterrannean Integration (CMI) and European Investment Bank, shows how an economy based on innovation and knowledge can help promote greater economic growth and spur competitiveness. Inger Andersen, Vice-President for the Middle East and North Africa at the … Continue reading
Youth unemployment in the Arab region is the highest in the world, according to a report by the U.N. International Labour Organization (ILO) released on Tuesday. The investigative body stated that the Arab uprisings have exposed skewed development policies, social justice deficits and over twenty years of poorly managed economic liberalization. “As a region, youth … Continue reading