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Businesses must help curb youth unemployment in the Middle East

Youth unemployment is rising to new levels in the Middle East and according to the latest Nielsen survey, as much as 38 per cent of the people in the UAE fear for their job security in the months ahead.

Adam Kingl, Executive Director of Learning Solutions, Executive Education, at London Business School, comments:

“The job crisis in the Middle East is a serious issue that must be tackled on a strategic level. Employers are struggling to find trained, role-specific candidates and this challenge is only worsening as the regional skills gap widens.

“With the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimating that more than 27 per cent of the Middle East’s young population is currently unemployed – twice the global average of 13 per cent – it is clear that business has a responsibility to provide skills development initiatives for leaders. Companies must play their role in ensuring that the workplace is ready for the next generation and that millennial and future generations can contribute to society.

“Regional organisations must create work environments that encourage a culture of learning, where talent can flourish. One approach is to undertake high-end partnerships for specific employee development initiatives.

“Another approach is to aid the nations and region to invest in up-skilling youth as quickly as possible, even if employment cannot in every case be offered.  Alternatives include offering mentorships, reverse mentorships (asking younger people to assist executives with how to use social media to reach consumers better, for example), internships and projects.

“Paid project work is a particularly intriguing option, as it generates income for those who are otherwise unemployed, develops valuable skills and experience, allows a company to ‘try out’ a future potential employee, and is consistent with many millennials’ desire to have a more flexible work life.” 

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