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Over 60% of young Jordanians inactive in job market — study

By Hana Namrouqa - Jul 20,2014 - Last updated at Jul 20,2014

AMMAN — Over 60 per cent of young Jordanians are inactive in the labour market, according to a report issued recently, which indicated that the country’s youth unemployment rate is almost twice the global average.

“The Labour Market Transitions of Young Women and Men in Jordan” report, released by the International Labour Organisation, indicated that although the country’s youths enjoy good access to education, including higher education, their rate of participation in the labour force is very low.

The study attributed part of the low employment rates among young Jordanians to the fact that 42.9 per cent of the youth population is receiving education, but said that education alone is not sufficient to explain high inactivity rates.

“The vast majority of young women (80.7 per cent) remained inactive, and more than one-third were inactive and not in school,” the report said.

The survey, which covered 5,405 young people between the ages of 15 and 29, indicated that although youth unemployment in Jordan is almost twice the global average of 12.4 per cent, it remains lower than the regional average.

However, the study described the duration of youth unemployment in the country as “a serious concern”.

“Long-term unemployment (one year or more) affected 55.8 per cent of those unemployed… The percentage of unemployed youths who had been looking for work for at least six months was 72.4 per cent.”

On investing in education, the report showed that for young men, this brings a return in terms of finding employment, as male unemployment rates decrease as their level of education increases.

“Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for young women, where the unemployment rate remains stubbornly above 40 per cent regardless of the level of education attained,” the report said.

The unemployed youngsters surveyed in the report identified the lack of available jobs as the main barrier to finding employment, a perception they confirmed by the fact that their proactive attitude in searching for opportunities through many channels translated into very few actual interview opportunities.

Despite the fact that young women in Jordan are, on average, highly educated, the majority of them remain inactive after leaving school, while those who do enter the labour market face difficulties finding employment, the report said.

“Only 11.2 per cent of the young women were working, compared to 47.2 per cent of young men.”

The transition from school to the labour market in Jordan can be extremely long, the study added.

“Those who did not move directly from education to stable and/or satisfactory employment… faced, on average, a very long transition of 32.8 months or nearly three years.”


Key figures


Employment rate of young men: 47.2%

Employment rate of young women: 11.2%

Youth who have completed the transition to stable and/or satisfactory employment: 28.8%

Youth unemployment rate: 24.1%

Share of unemployed youths searching for work for one year or longer: 55.8%

Male youth unemployment rate: 18.7%

Female youth unemployment rate: 41.8%

Unemployment rate of youths with primary education: 23.5%

Unemployment rate of youths with university education: 28.1%


Source: International Labour Organisation

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