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Mon 29 Nov 2010 12:40 PM

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Unemployment posing a threat to Mid-East - former World Bank chief

Some three million jobs must be created each year to avert disaster, James Wolfensohn says

Unemployment posing a threat to Mid-East - former World Bank chief
(Getty Images)

Some three million jobs need to be created across the Middle East each year in order to avert the serious threat unemployment is posing to the region, a former World Bank chief has said.

James Wolfensohn, the former president of the World Bank, said more should be done to create jobs for the region’s younger population, the Peninsula reports.

According to the paper, Wolfensohn said on average a student from a Middle Eastern university remains unemployed for three years after graduating.

He warned that the unemployment problem in the region could worsen by 2020 if not tackled effectively. He urged businesses, policy makers and educational institutions to help generate more jobs, the paper reports.

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Kat 9 years ago

I love the way these guys shoot from the hip - thanks for pointing out the obvious Mr Wolfensohn - the problem is that a lot of these 'graduates' expect immediate employment in a managers position with the privileges and rewards that go with it. They aren't loyal and seem to think something is owed to them. If you were to pay a managers salary, surely you want someone who can do the job, not just someone who fills a quota.

CAsper 9 years ago

To Kat: This "guy", respectable Mr Wolfensohn, is not shooting from the hip. This is how politics and diplomacy works. The issues have to be highlighted and named over again to get them onto the agendas of policy makers. And for the other half of your reply I believe that we all have that impression once graduated. Real life will soon sort that bit out. ALthough there will always remain a bunch that can not be cured.

Lindsay Ward 9 years ago

My experience is in Saudi Arabia where many youth are being educated and have limited opportunities once they finish schooling. Some may feel entitled to a well paying job, but I think the broader problem is a lack of creativity on the part of employers, government agencies and new graduates. The answers that worked 30 years ago are not solving the problems of today. So.......a fresh approach is needed......and I have it.

Billy 9 years ago

Casper you are living in cloud cuckoo land if you think the problem will resolve itself. The basic problem is work ethic and it will take a generation to fix if we start now. Part of this issue is that GCC National kids never get the opportunity for Saturday or part time jobs when they are teenagers so never get the basic need to work to earn philosophy. It is therefore unfair to expect a graduate who has never earned a single penny in his life to suddenly get what working is all about. This needs to be fixed. More also needs to be done in government schools so that kids leave with a desire to work hard and learn. Right now all they want is an easy life, without measurement hence why 95% of Emirati's see a government job as what they want. The private sector is too much like hard work. Again this needs to change. GCC Nationals need to become competitive with expat workers and be prepared to work on equal terms as believe me all GCC states need expats whether they like it or not.

Fashionably Employed 9 years ago

I think this problem will always prevail as long as there is inequality in remunerations, treatment, preferences, quotas for locals vs expats. it will be very difficult to cure the problem without curing one of the major cause. Once we have an equal opportunity employment and wage system in place this will surely diminish any ideas of getting higher pay and less work. What do you guys think?

Abdulla 9 years ago

Mr Wolfensohn is only stating the obvious. Adding figures and estimates do not make it more or less true. Unemployment is the product of many factors and unfortunately economical factors are not the main factor. Because otherwise, unemployment could be solved in the short to medium term through fiscal stimulus for instance. The key reasons behind the unemployment that we witness in the GCC is due to historical, social & educational factors. We can overcome these challenges with a very long term strategic solution by overhauling the education system, encouraging creativity and investing in young talent.

Aiman 9 years ago

GCC governments need to put long term strategy for that. most important issue to start with is minimum wages to encourage local work force. giving monthly support for unemployed people funded by taxes imposed on companies do not hire locals.