New Youth Employment survey explores skills gap and unemployment in MENA & SSA
INJAZ Al-Arab and JA Africa have partnered with global consulting firm, Oliver Wyman, to explore labour market skills gap in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Region and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in an effort to tackle the unemployment challenge. The “Youth Employment Perception” survey took place across thirteen countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar and the UAE in the MENA region, along with six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Eswatini, Gabon, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe).
The study looked at markets across four key areas to provide a dual-perspective from both youth and employers which included sectoral opportunities and challenges, qualifying the skills gap, bridging the gap, and the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market. Around 60 percent of youth are unable to secure employment due to lack of relevant work experience, while 70 percent believe they need updated education and upskilling to find employment, showing just how much a problem the skills gap currently is.
The study surveyed more than 350 employers across the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and over 2,000 youths across both regions. The employer respondents were selected from various industries to get a broad view, including education, public sector and non-profit organizations, financial services, manufacturing, engineering, and professional services. The insights from the study will be used to influence the private sector and public policy in addressing these challenges.
Akef Aqrabawi, President & CEO of INJAZ Al-Arab, said: “The survey sheds awareness on the disparity between the skills that youth are currently being equipped with, and the requirements requested by today’s employers. We will continue our work by leveraging the insights garnered from this study to provide the necessary programs and mentorship opportunities to students to close this gap.”
Pierre Romagny, Partner at Oliver Wyman, added, “These insights are critical to point the private and public sectors alike in the right direction to start addressing these challenges.13 program facilitators and 18 friends of the work-readiness programs (employers) across MENA and SSA have provided valuable insights on challenges and opportunities in their market. We look forward to leveraging this report to create awareness with employers and drive opportunities for youth across markets.”