http://www.cfr.org/content/bios/Coleman_sm1.jpgBy Isobel Coleman. A new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)—Rethinking Economic Growth: Towards Productive and Inclusive Arab Societies—examines employment issues, the relative lack of dynamic private sectors, broken social contracts, and more in the Arab world.
The chapter on education is particularly interesting. The report focuses on the problems of the demand side in explaining the lack of good jobs in the region, rather than the skills gap that many other studies have emphasized. It argues that it is “mainly the type of jobs that are created that leads to investments in human resources, rather than investments in human resources leading to job creation. Once the macro economy and various sectoral policies create opportunities for productive types of jobs that require more skills, job seekers will have the incentive to make the appropriate investments in their human capital in order to get those jobs.”
The report also makes compelling distinctions between employment outcomes in the GCC economies and other countries in the Arab world. Since government employment in the GCC “is more or less an automatic entitlement,” students in those countries lack an incentive to bolster their skills and receive great educations. Read more...