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Students urged to earn degrees that fill labour market needs

By Batool Ghaith - Aug 07,2022 - Last updated at Aug 08,2022

The Civil Service Bureau announced a group of stagnant university majors in the labour market which will not be needed for years ahead (Fiel photo)

AMMAN — The Civil Service Bureau announced a group of stagnant university majors in the labour market which will not be needed for years ahead.

Forty academic majors, half of which are bachelor’s degrees and the other half comprehensive community college diplomas — considered the most popular among students — are classified as stagnant and overloaded. 

The current number of graduates of those majors is sufficient for local labour market needs for a period of no less than 10-15 years, according to the Civil Service Bureau.

The stagnant majors include political science, foreign languages, philosophy, economics, business administration, special education and rehabilitation, journalism and media, computer science and others.

Ahmad Awad, Director of the Phenix Centre for Economics and Informatics Studies (PCEIS) said that the Civil Service Bureau only has statistics on stagnant or non-stagnant majors in the public sector, rather than the private sector, so it does not accurately reflect the reality of the labour market.

“The point of any university major is to prepare students for work in terms of basic skills and knowledge, but unfortunately the level of education in Jordanian universities is very low,” Awad told The Jordan Times.

He indicated that Jordanian universities “lack educational systems” which can enable graduates to enter the labour market efficiently, creating a significant gap between the needs of the market and the skills of the student.

According to Awad, there is also a huge gap between the nature of majors that currently exist in universities and the needs of the labour market.

He noted that Jordan lacks administrative and vocational courses, as well as agricultural, data management and technical majors, which the Jordanian market “desperately needs”.

Economist Wajdi Makhamreh told The Jordan Times that the Jordanian labour market is “limited and in dire need of complete restructuring.”

“Unfortunately, students still waste their time and effort studying majors not needed in the market, because of the culture of shame and pressure from parents or even society for them to study something specific other than what most of them actually want,” Makhamreh said.

He indicated that graduates who hold degrees of stagnant majors should resort to finding job opportunities abroad, which is not that easy but there are some majors that are in demand more abroad than in Jordan.

“Stagnant majors’ graduates can take certain certificates or courses that add to their degrees and major, something that the labour market actually needs. In most cases, graduates end up working in a field other than their major,” Makhamreh added.

Makhamreh also mentioned that graduates can resort to creating their own start-ups or entrepreneurial projects.

Students nowadays need to shift their focus to majors related to artificial intelligence, robotics, logistics, which are in demand not only in Jordan but also in other countries, Makhamreh said, also noting the importance of  vocational jobs related to infrastructure.

Sara Abdelkareem, a career consultant, said that the world is being transformed by digitalisation.

“Anything and everything nowadays is related to digitalisation and digital transformation. I advise students to get into more technical and digital majors such as cybersecurity, as well as majors such as artificial intelligence and anything related to that,” Abdelkareem told The Jordan Times.

She also indicated that “data science” is very in demand in markets around the world. “The major is relatively new and it is growing exponentially,” Abdelkareem added.

Abdelkareem encouraged students to “let go” of what their parents want. “Most parents do not understand the modern life and labour market and what is in demand. Medicine and engineering are not what they used to be. The market is more than overloaded with these majors,” she said.

According to Abdelkareem, game design, aerospace engineering, and financial technology graduates are what the labour market needs both nationally and internationally.

She advised students to “follow their hearts and minds and only listen to the facts.”


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