Ron Bruder founder and chair of EFE Foundation remarks, that there is a lot of frustration among Arab youth. The situation for them is undoubtedly an uphill struggle, different youth voices support this statement. Kefi Ghazi claimed “I was frustrated to see that even with my Master’s degree, it wasn’t possible for me to find a decent job, and that made me hate the county I am living in”. Despite graduating from the top of his class, he had spent three years looking for a job in his hometown of Tunis, Tunisia. He was not alone in his frustration. Over 42% of young Tunisians are unemployed -Tunisian National Institute of Statistics, 2014-, and across the Middle East & North Africa –MENA-, more than one in four youth is locked out of the labor market. For women in the region, the statistics are especially sobering: less than 1 in 5 is currently employed -OECD 2013-.
This figures show how desperate the circumstances are for the youth nowadays. Youth is in constant struggle for ensuring a prosperous future. They have a strong willing to develop their life in their homeland; avoiding going abroad for in a work hunt. According to a recent report by Beyt.com, the Middle East’s leading career site, 79% of Millennials in the Middle East say that the foremost challenge of their generation is finding a job. But it is the opportunities for youth employment that motivated Bruder to found ‘Education for Employment’ as a network of demand-driven job training and placement organizations. From decades of launching successful businesses in a wide range of industries, Bruder knew first-hand that access to skilled talent is crucial to economic success whether at the company or country level.
ICT, field of employment
Furthermore, MENA region’s improved legal and regulatory system, better broadband infrastructure and a rapid uptick in digital adoption have made information and communication technology -ICT- one of the most promising fields for job creation in the near-term. If the current pace of industry growth continues, it could generate nearly 4.4 million jobs over the next five years -Strategy&, 2012-. Along with burgeoning high-speed Internet connectivity, MENA boasts a relatively large population of youth with basic English or French skills, making it a promising location for IT and Business Process outsourcing. Women stand to become the most significant beneficiaries of such growth, as ICT is one of the top sectors employing women in MENA. Online work platforms such as Nabbesh.com have emerged, providing flexibility to workers with family commitments and enabling women to work from home where cultural sensitivities might otherwise prevent them from participating in the labor force.
Last but not least, ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Youth Employment in MENA’ information points out, the potential for significant job creation extends beyond retail and technology into such diverse fields as agriculture, automotive, health and tourism. The scale of the Arab youth unemployment challenge eclipses the independent activities of any one set of actors; hence concerted efforts are required at the local, regional and international levels, and across the public and private sectors. Therefore one thing is clear: youth employment is in urgent need in this region. The governments should take an advantage of the rich resources they own, both human and natural. They must invest in their national markets to boost employment among the youth and try to avoid as much as possible the drain brain.