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Youth in Jordan Joining The Global Labor Market

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Youth in Jordan Joining The Global Labor Market

Aya Al-Hrout Jan, 2022

The increasing unemployment rate in Jordan is threatening youth’s future and we need urgent solutions.

Among all the challenges youth face in Jordan, unemployment is causing frustration and depriving youth of securing a decent livelihood. Youth unemployment in Jordan has reach 50% in 2020. There is no single institution to blame for that, instead, it’s an accumulative and collective consequence of unorganized efforts.

Firstly, schools and educational institutions. Do you believe the course you studied has actually prepared you to perform your job tasks? Did you learn how to build a CV and excel at job interviews? Are you even working in the same field you studied?

Let me guess, most of you answered with a big NO.

Of course, universities and schools are useful to build your knowledge and to learn about the world around you. Still, not sufficient enough to obtain your dream job. With no doubt, there is a huge gap between the necessary skills for the labor market and the outputs of educational institutions. The educational institutions should develop courses in alignment with employers’ requirements and constantly enhance them in adaptation to the rapid technological development.

Add to that, the economic situation in Jordan and the bureaucracy in starting and maintaining businesses. Along with the decrease in foreign investments. Therefore, there is a tough competition for employment in the limited availability of job opportunities. You need to outperform potential employees in the talent pool in order to attract employers.

We cannot disregard the Wasta (connections) phenomena in Jordan which is one of the causes of unequal youth economic participation. In simple words, Wasta is when you have the right qualifications for a job, but maybe not the right family name.

Digital Transformation

The increase in digital transformation does not make it any easier. Although Artificial intelligence and machine learning are a source of new jobs, other jobs have disappeared and no longer need human intervention to be done. And again, how can you secure such Big Data and AI jobs, if your education was outdated?

However, in the long-term (by 2025), AI will provide 97 million employment opportunities (i.e Data Analysts, Internet of Things Specialists, Application Developers..). To benefit from AI and digital developments, we need to work on our skills and ensure the knowledge we have can fulfill current markets’ requirements.

Youth’s Role

As much as it is easy to spend our time blaming others for the obstacles we face in our lives, this won’t end up in solutions. We, as youth, shall be actively looking for available opportunities to develop our skills and enter the labor market. It is our responsibility to explore internships, volunteering opportunities, and courses. Nowadays, there is great accessibility to educational online courses in various fields that can foster your knowledge and help you gain up-to-date skills that match the requirements of the modern workplace. Let’s turn the obstacles into opportunities! 

It is never too late! explore your personality, choose a useful hobby, where you can learn new skills, and expand your network. Put some effort into your online presence and develop your profile to a professional, employer-friendly one.

We present to you Afaq

Based on all the challenges youth face in Jordan to enter the labor market. At JYIF, we have developed a new project that addresses competitiveness in the local labor market, youth skills development opportunities, and equal access to economic participation.

Afaq is an innovative project that aims at building digital capacity for youth and onboarding them on freelancing online platforms. The project includes training sessions and workshops to provide youth with knowledge around remote-jobs code of conduct and required digital skills to perform their tasks remotely. Along with career coaching to support participants in identifying the right service they can provide in alignment with their skills and educational background. As for soft skills, Afaq includes networking events to meet up with other freelancers and exchange best practices.

Later on, we will develop a project to advocate for a legitimate freelancers’ association. Covid-19 caused a noticeable increase in remote freelancing. Whilst freelancing platforms secure a contract between the freelancer and the client, there are no local protection laws. Consequently, we identified the need for an association to legally register freelancers and protect their rights as employees.

In your opinion, what other projects can we develop to address youth unemployment in Jordan?

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