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Regional labour market needs educational investment, regulations reform — report

By Dana Al Emam - May 19,2017 - Last updated at May 19,2017

The changing nature of the skills needed in the regional job market requires quality investments in education and reform of regulations, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — The changing nature of the skills needed in the regional job market requires quality investments in education and reform of regulations, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Titled “The Future of Jobs and Skills in the Middle East and North Africa: Preparing the Region for the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, the report highlighted the need to improve the future conditions of over 300 million people in the region, which is home to "one of the youngest populations of the world".

The region has so far realised 62 per cent of its full human capital potential, compared to a global average of 65 per cent, according to the report's findings.

The regional labour market's outlook is characterised by a low, yet, increasing participation of women, high rates of unemployment and under-employment, particularly among the youth and the relatively well-educated, and large but decreasing rates of public sector employment.

Youth unemployment in the region stands at 31 per cent, with university graduates constituting nearly 30 per cent of those unemployed, the report said.

In addition to youth unemployment, unemployment among women is another issue in the region. The discrepancy in women employment rates across the region reflects an "inefficient use of education investments".

While a number of countries in the region have medium to high-skilled labour, the nature of skills needed for picking up with the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is changing.   

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human, according to World Economic Forum website High-skilled employment stands at 21 per cent on average, while middle-skilled jobs makes up for 66 per cent of all formal sector jobs, according to the report, which cited the UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as the leading countries in terms of local availability of high-skilled jobs, mainly in the banking, finance, academia and engineering sectors.

The report claimed that jobs in the region are going through major changes to their skill profile, which is declining, stable or growing, according to the nature of the job.

The WEF's Future of Jobs analysis found that, by 2020, 21 per cent of the core skills needed in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and 41 per cent of those in Turkey will be different from the skills that were needed in 2015.

"Preparing for these disruptions and new opportunities, while addressing current challenges will require broad reforms and agile, iterative public-private collaboration efforts," the report stated.

 

All of these issues have to be addressed in order for countries of the region to realise their full human potential, the statement concluded.

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