Are Middle Eastern countries ignoring top talent?

Written by
Changeboard Team

25 Aug 2016

25 Aug 2016 • by Changeboard Team

The Arab world is growing

Countries in the Arab world will need to create about 75 million jobs in the next ten years to keep pace with the fast-growing population poised to enter its workforce. But a paucity of skills and education in the region means that this goal may never be achieved. 

Youth unemployment crisis

Ths staggering figure represents a 40% increase in the number of jobs currently available in the region, accoring to research by management consultancy Booz & company. States such as Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) already have a youth unemployment crisis, with rates that are some of the highest in the world. 

Upskill the local workforce

The World Bank estimates that the proportion of the population in the Middle East and North Africa aged at least 25 with a tertiary level degree is less than 10%. In some countries in the region, it is less than 5%. The World Economic Forum backed the Booz & Company research to identify how larger employers may help bridge this talent gap. Potential jobs must be more effectively identified, and then tailored training should be developed for young people that provides the skills required. 

It is suggested that big corporations potentially have greater influence on employment levels than governments themselves. They are encouraged to offer better benefits to attract and retain staff, to work with governments on job development and to commit to training existing workers. 

Lack of female talent

Importantly, the study finds that these Arab nations are ignoring precious native talent in the form of female candidates. Workforce participation among female candidates is just 35% in Qatar, 30% in Bahrain, 28% in the UAE and 17% in Saudi Arabia.