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Mon 19 Aug 2013 10:49 AM

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56% of Arabs do not work: Gallup study

Women, young people in MENA choose not to work, study finds

56% of Arabs do not work: Gallup study

More than half of Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa do not work, according to the latest employment analysis by renowned research group Gallup.

The rate – 56 percent – is the highest of any region in the world. It excludes non-Arab expatriates.

Much of the non-workforce is made up of women and young people who choose not to work, according to Gallup.

“Many people in the region, especially women, voluntarily choose not to work, reducing the number of people who are even interested in full-time employment,” the report said.

“Young people in MENA also tend to be more likely to be out of the workforce than their counterparts in other regions, underscoring the challenges facing youth in the MENA region.”

Calculating those who do want to work, MENA also had the highest unemployment rate – excluding non-Arab expats - of all regions in 2012, at 19 percent, followed by sub-Saharan Africa (15 percent).

A further 37 percent were employed but wanted more hours.

It is estimated MENA will need to create 100m jobs in the next five years to maintain the present unemployment level. By comparison, 5m jobs were created in the past 25 years.

The high unemployment and non-working culture contributed to MENA recording a pay to population rate of only 18 percent, the second lowest in the world behind sub-Saharan Africa.

The rate is based on the estimated percentage of the entire adult population aged 15 and older who are employed full-time for an employer for at least 30 hours per week.

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Hamesh 6 years ago

The article did not mention any detaisl on the size and characteristics of the sample that resulted in 56% . It would also be enlightening to include the root cause(s) of the result of the research, if there is a benefit expected from this research.

George 6 years ago

Whichever way you cut it, this is appalling.There are clearly cultural reasons why this is happening. The GCC has world-class educational facilities and the current generation of young Arab nationals have no excuses - if they wish to become well educated and pursue excellent careers, it is there for the taking. Right now, this region is still shipping in talent from other regions: this is a waste of the region's talent and potential. It is also a waste of money. The other challenge is, of course, diversifying the economies in this region. Oil and gas, whilst major contributors to GDP are not big employers. Big employers come in the shape of manufacturing of goods and from the services sector.

On a macro level, there is currently very little incentive for GCC nationals to work in the private services sector because they are paid too much in the government sector. The reasons for overpaying nationals is obviously political and therein lies the problem. Until that changes, nothing will.

stupid article 6 years ago

Most of the unemployed Arabs live in countries like Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Morocco, etc. This "56% of Arabs" figure is way too broad and must be specific, i.e. Gulf Arabs or north African Arabs, etc. because each region is obviously very different (culturally, economically).

Ameera 6 years ago

A good chunk of the women and youth that make up that 56% could be Saudi women who are unable to work for obvious reasons and youngsters who either choose not to work (family is well to do) or simply cannot find suitable jobs per their qualifications. In any case, the no. is depressing and with all the business that's already floating in the region + new business announcements, surely more jobs can be created. And more girl power please!