Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean



Southern Mediterranean education causing labour market friction

Training unsuited to the present labour market is pushing unemployment rates higher, especially among young graduates. Graduates are being forced to either look to the public sector for jobs or emigrate. Version française

Southern Mediterranean education causing labour market friction

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Léo Vincent wants to "connect graduates with businesses" (photo : F.Dubessy)
Léo Vincent wants to "connect graduates with businesses" (photo : F.Dubessy)
MEDITERRANEAN. Chronic high unemployment, especially among young adults, low employment rates, changes in education systems, friction within the job market, and governments’ failure to address the issue, immigration serving as a safety valve… reasons abound to explain the gap that exists between training and job offers in Southern Mediterranean countries. These reasons were the subject of discussions at the EMNES’ (Euro-Mediterranean Network for Economic Studies) annual conference held in Brussels on 27th June, 2019, with conference facilitator Nooh Alshyab of Yarmouk University putting a leading question: “Is it a supply or demand issue?
It’s not one or the other, it’s both,” says Nathalie Creste, adviser to the Director for Labour Mobility at the European Commission’s Department of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Friction in the labour market is well and truly a consequence of the skills mismatch, bolstered by the fact that further education is civil service-oriented and that, despite an increase in schooling levels, bad quality education continues.
The main problem is still the unemployment rate among the highly educated, 40% in Tunisia -50% even for women in that same country,” says Cinzia Alcidi, senior research fellow and head of the Economic Policy Unit at the CEPS (Centre for European Policy Studies). Consequently, training isn’t matched to the available jobs. “Education should be generating new jobs. It’s vital that we design an education system that trains employees for private-sector companies and new employers,” claims Alcidi.

Cooperation required between the two shores

The importance of the public sector and its attractiveness (higher salaries, better social protection, job security and status) condition education choices. And it absorbs the best talent. According to Eurostat figures (2017), of the million young people (Algerians, Egyptians, Moroccans and Tunisians) aged between 18 and 34 on European soil, 40% are employed, 42% are inactive and 18% are claiming unemployment. Further proof that their training is unsuited to the needs of overseas companies.

Without cooperation between the two shores, we’re not going to succeed,” maintains Nooh Alshyab. Which is where programs such as HOMERe (High Opportunity for Mediterranean Executive Recruitment) come in. Its president, Léo Vincent, wants to “connect graduates with businesses” by offering six-month internships. His recent successful tender to the call for projects issued by the EU’s Department of Migration and Home Affairs will allow him to enhance the employability of young Moroccans, Tunisians and Egyptians.
The migratory flow is going to continue; it is essential to be able to manage it,” says Cinzia Alcidi.

Frédéric Dubessy, in BRUSSELS

Thursday, July 18th 2019

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