Print logo

Labor Market and Education
Youth unemployment in Jordan

The main goal of the workshop was to discuss the key barriers for youth insertion in the labor market in Jordan

Full house - great interest in the topic

Full house - great interest in the topic

UniHRD

Youth unemployment and economic hardship are directly linked to the political upheavals that swept the region in late 2010. They symbolize the frustration and humiliation of young people who lack decent jobs and who are confronted with widespread corruption on a daily basis. With their sheer numbers and increasing frustration, young people have become the driving force behind the historic uprisings in the region, calling for change and seeking the prosperity and openness enjoyed by peers in other parts of the world. This also applies to young Jordanian people.

Lecturer Dr. Ayat Jibril

Lecturer Dr. Ayat Jibril

UniHRD

The education system in Jordan has experienced rapid growth in recent decades, although quality concerns remain. In international standardized tests, Jordanian students do not score as well as in other similar income countries, although Jordanian students tend to outperform others in other Arab countries. Graduates lack both the appropriate academic focus and the broad range of cognitive skills - language, teamwork, problem-solving, etc., which are important to work, especially in the private sector. The mismatch between what young people learn and the skills they need for the job market is not something that all young people are aware of, and many see the lack of aptitude for preparing for the labor market as a challenge, despite supposedly 'good' degrees they find no work. With regard to the choice of a profession or study subject, young people are also confronted with the challenge of meeting the expectations of their parents or society and therefore do not feel free to choose a career.

Lecturer Dr. Mashhour Hamadneh and participants

Lecturer Dr. Mashhour Hamadneh and participants

UniHRD

During the workshop, which was organized in cooperation with the Arab World Center for Democratic Development - UniHRD on August 9, 2018 in Irbid, students and young people from all over Jordan have been openly discussing these issues with representatives from the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Education, expressing their needs and frustration. 

Some of the most interesting findings pertain to the situation of female youth. In contrast to statistics revealing very low female labor force participation in Jordan, most female youth in the focus groups expressed their intentions to work. 

Expressing women needs

Expressing women needs

UniHRD

This suggests that low employment among this group ultimately does not derive from their having absorbed cultural or social views discouraging their economic participation, but rather from external barriers, whether these are from family of employers or from other constraints such as security. Also along these lines, a number of female participants stressed that their career choices were limited beyond the government sector and within the government were limited to a few professions, in particular teaching. Participants from Zarqa and South Jordan voiced particularly high levels of hopelessness about the future, which is likely a reflection of the higher poverty and lack of economic opportunities in that regions.