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April 2012

Creating Jobs in Arab Countries

Ragui Assaad's picture

Youth unemployment (ages 15-24) is often two to three times total unemployment, and the picture is particularly bleak in the Middle East and North Africa. University of Minnesota professor Ragui Assaad specializes in labor policy, informal markets, and urban planning in developing countries. We asked his thoughts on the youth job picture in the Arab countries, including the role of unemployment in the Arab Spring, current youth expectations, and the prospects for dynamic private sectors.

ILO/World Bank Discussion on Jobs and Policy - Responses to the Financial and Economic Crisis

Arup Banerji's picture

The World Bank’s spring meetings this year have been all about “Closing the Gap”. And one of the gaps the world certainly needs to close is the one on jobs – between those whose jobs are productive and those who scrape by in low-return work, and between those who have them and those who don’t. The recent crises have brought this gap into even sharper focus, if that’s possible – with growth slowdowns meaning that in many countries unemployment rose.Governments in rich and developing countries alike reacted with a slew of public policy measures to try and redress the situation. But until now, we haven’t had a full understanding of what really happened in terms of the sweep of policies put in place by different countries, and how these differed among countries themselves.

Youth Hiring Strategies

Branka Minic's picture

Branka Minic summarizes key findings from Manpower Groups' experience of hiring patterns based on work with thousands of companies in over 80 countries around the world. She provides concrete steps young people can take to make themselves more attractive employees, and discusses the strategic need for firms and governments to develop effective youth hiring and development plans.

Welcome to the Jobs Knowledge Platform

Arup Banerji's picture

Even before the financial crisis, the world was facing a job crisis. Jobs will remain at the center of the policy debate in the near future for five main reasons:

  1. During the crisis, 30 to 40 million jobs were lost. Even if employment levels are improving, progress is not uniform across all countries. Plus, countries still face the need to create employment opportunities for those who have entered the labor force since the crisis began.
  2. Beyond the current economic crisis and the problem of unemployment a central development challenge is how to improve the quality of the millions of jobs that already exist. Labor income is the main mechanism through which people escape poverty, yet many workers and their families today remain poor.
  3. Across countries, a large share of workers are in informal wage employment lacking access to social security and labor regulations. Many more – 80 percent of workers in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa -- are self-employed in subsistence activities or working in small household enterprises, often without pay.
  4. Demographic patterns add urgency to the need to expand job opportunities. Young people, including those with higher education, still struggle to find jobs in many parts of the world. And as more of them enter the labor market, the situation could worsen, particularly in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Should, Could, Would. The Lens Matters.

Philip Levy's picture

In this interview, Philip Levy, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute’s Program in International Economics. discusses the potential for a global competition for jobs. Economic analyses can tell you whether a country ‘should’ intervene, international agreements determine what ‘could’ or could not be done – and politics affects whether countries ‘would’ want to risk heightened tensions with trade partners over the issue.

More Higher Education May Not Be the Right Approach to the Youth Unemployment Problem

Klaus Zimmermann's picture

What if it turns out that developing countries, from China to Chile, have chosen the wrong approach to a vital part of their youth development policy? Largely under the aegis of the U.S. example, there has been a strong emphasis on churning out university graduates. In a growing number of countries, this goal has been achieved by vastly expanding the number of universities, increasingly relying on private-sector institutions, and raising student fees (and, hence, often family debt). It is time to consider a different, more pragmatic approach.