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Report sets out Arab unemployment challenge.

Middle East countries need to move fast to tackle high unemployment - and the region's biggest companies should take a leading role in cutting jobless figures.

That's the conclusion of new research by top consulting firm Booz and Company and Saudi Arabian industrial giant SABIC.

With the Arab world having to create 75 million jobs in the next ten years - boosting the number of available jobs by a huge 40 per cent in the process - the authors of new research urge governments to implement "an urgent response to employment challenges".

Middle East countries need to move fast to tackle high unemployment according to a new study

As well as the problem of young people lacking in skills, the region also suffers from "a mismatch" between the kind of skills being acquired by students and those currently required by companies.

Booz and Co partner Samer Bohsali notes that the use of quotas for hiring nationals "have not met the objectives that they set out to achieve."

The report notes that it is "large employers, rather than governments, that can play an increasingly important role in job creation".

Big firms "best understand what the labour market needs", and can help by building partnerships with educational institutions.

Governments can do their bit by bringing more women - "their main untapped national resource" - into employment. Workforce participation among female nationals is just 35 per cent in Qatar, 28 per cent in the UAE and 17 per cent in Saudi Arabia, the report finds.

Change must be swift, however.

"Educational systems in the countries of the Arab World are producing a generation of young graduates without the adequate training and skills to contribute productively to the economy," the report's authors conclude.

2012 Al Sidra Media LLC

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 10, 2012
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