Nowadays, unemployment seems to affect the Lebanese work force, more specifically the Lebanese youth that are newly graduating and becoming jobless. In order to further assess the causes of this employment crisis and to propose some solutions a survey was conducted on 19 university students. The participants were divided into 2 study groups females and males. Several factors where tackled such as the educational system, the labor market and the social aspect of the country. The results were mostly in line with the previous studies discussed in the literature review and with this study’s hypothesis. The findings clearly state the presence of a gap between the educational system, the student guidance offices and the labor market. The outcome of the study also revealed the presence of gender discrimination, the lack of peer support from female employer and the toll of economic classes on employment. Although the sample studied was relatively small, some effective solutions were suggested to improve the unemployment crisis before it aggravates further.Nowadays, unemployment seems to affect the Lebanese work force, more specifically the Lebanese youth that are newly graduating and becoming jobless. In order to further assess the causes of this employment crisis and to propose some solutions a survey was conducted on 19 university students. The participants were divided into 2 study groups females and males. Several factors where tackled such as the educational system, the labor market and the social aspect of the country. The results were mostly in line with the previous studies discussed in the literature review and with this study’s hypothesis. The findings clearly state the presence of a gap between the educational system, the student guidance offices and the labor market. The outcome of the study also revealed the presence of gender discrimination, the lack of peer support from female employer and the toll of economic classes on employment. Although the sample studied was relatively small, some effective solutions were suggested to improve the unemployment crisis before it aggravates further.
Unemployment in the middle east has received much attention in the past 5 years from researchers. More specifically Lebanon is facing high rates of unemployment. The issue of joblessness should be tackled since within the next few years unemployment is likely to increase. In addition, this problem is directly affecting the youth and the future of the country. Accordingly, this topic was highlighted by many studies in the purpose of determining the causes of this major problem. In fact, the 5 articles that we reviewed hypothesized that education, the labor market, and the social aspect of the country are the major causes of the unemployment in the middle east. Thus, a review of the 5 articles will be presented.
Education is believed to be the leading cause of joblessness in the MENA region. According to Nauffal and Skult-ouais (2018) it seems to be unclear if the graduates in Lebanon acquire the promised knowledge and soft skills. Moreover, In Lebanon the American-style higher education universities primarily focus on the soft skills, that seem to be valuable for the employers. Whereas the French-style based universities emphasize on academic curriculum instead of liberal arts and non-academic growth. (Nauffal and Skult-Ouaiss, 2018, Discussion section, para.3). Actually, some people argue that high rates of unemployment are due to the lack of quality education (Feling, Janal et al, 2015, Discussion section, para.2). However, on the other hand other scholars believe that the problem is the mismatch between the acquired skills and the demanded skills of the labor market through education (El-Ghali, 2011, p.4). In addition, according to the study conducted by Ghada Barsoum (2018) the access to education in the MENA region is increasing, meanwhile the job offers are not ascending (Discussion section, para.3, p.52).
According to the research conducted by Barsoum (2018) the centralized governance and the dualism found in the MENA labor market between the public and the private sectors are the basis to the challenge of unemployment. (Discussion section, para.5). In particular Lebanon is considered a small country and the employment chances are limited (El-Ghali, 2011, discussion section, p.93). Those claims are backed up by the high emigration rate of the Lebanese youth with the purpose of finding a job (Nauffal and Skult-Ouaiss, 2018, Discussion section, para.1). Moreover, the transition from the academic world to the labor market faces some limitations, for example the number of graduates is mismatched with the number of job vacancies (El-Ghali, 2011, p.93). This subject was highly debated, for instance, some scholars think that the problem lies within the fact that some graduates expect to get high posts with high salaries from their first job (El-Ghali, 2011, p.94). While other researchers claim that the dualism of the market is the primary cause of joblessness in the MENA region (Ragui Assaad, 2014, Conclusion section, para. 1). A third group observed that the unemployment is due mainly to the presence of a condensed number of graduates from one field such as engineering or medicine (Nauffal and Skult-Ouaiss, 2018, Discussion section, Para.4).
The last problem tackled by the researchers is the social aspect of the country that they consider to be a major cause of unemployment. According to Barsoum (2018) the gender inequality and the presence of different classes have created this unemployment crisis (Discussion section, para.2). Additionally, according to the research conducted by Fehling Z. (2015) women face difficulties finding a job because of the employment gender gap (discussion section, para.3). Hence, some scholars argue that this gender gap is due to the social norms that expect marital commitment at a young age impacts the economy of the region, by rendering marriage the priority of the youth rather than their quest for a job (El-Ghali, 2011, p.3). According to Naufal and Skult-Ouais (2018) research, the major issue is the low starting paychecks and the migration of the youth (Discussion section, para.6). In addition, Fehling’s (2015) study showed that there is a high correlation between violence and unemployment in the Middle East (Discussion section, para.5).
The assessed articles focus on the causes of unemployment that ranged from education to labor market to social factors of the countries. Those 5 Articles provided additional information about the unemployment crisis, but they still included limitations. The first limitation found in some of the articles was their focus on only 1 country. The second limitation is that they did not have a specific sample of undergraduate students that follow a LAC program and that are followed by an alumni office after graduation. Hence, further studies are needed to close those gaps and limitations. With this purpose, a survey was conducted among students from the Lebanese American University. The aim of this research was to further study the factors that cause unemployment and to suggest some solutions.
The purpose of our research is to assess the reasons of unemployment in the middle east according to Students. To determine the point of view of undergraduates about the origin of unemployment a Survey was conducted. The research question tackled was: what are the root of unemployment in the Middle east? The importance of our Survey lies within the fact that This survey tries to close some of the gaps and limitations found in the previous articles mention in the literature review. For example, a sample of specific students were addressed that follow a liberal art curriculum, and have a follow up by the guidance office in their university. The research focused mainly about the social aspect of the middle east in addition to education and labor market effects.
The research included 19 participants in total. All of the participants were students that study in the same university that follow a LAC courses program. 58% of the respondents were female while 42% were male. Out of the participants all of the males and 95% of females were unemployed whereas 5% of females were self-employed. The respondents had a variety of majors like Business, Pharmacy, Engineering, Computer Science, Psychology and Nursing. When asked if the students had an affiliation 26% said they had political affiliations, 21% said parental and the 53% of the participants had no affiliation.
The research questions addressed were centered around education, Labor market and the social aspect of the country. The Questionnaire was divided into 2 parts, the first part was about the demographic information of the respondents like gender, employability, major and affiliations. The second part of the Survey discussed the research’s 3 main variables. The first variable, education was outlined by 4 questions such as: Do you think restricting the limit of graduates by the university in a year can improve the unemployment problem? The next 3 questions tackled the social aspect by asking the opinion of the undergraduates about who will get employed between 2 applicants with drastically different social backgrounds. The last part of the survey questions covered the unemployment caused by the labor market.
All of the questions were close ended questions. The demographic questions were multiple-choice questions. The 4 questions addressing education and the 2 questions about the labor market were Yes or No questions, while the questions about the social aspect were 2 option questions. Those questions allowed the results to be easily converted into charts by Excel in the purpose of visualizing the data.
With the aim of revealing the causes of unemployment in the Middle-East a survey questionnaire was disseminated, that yielded the following results.
The results showed that 85% of the respondents think that academic standing (GPA) can affect the quest for a job (figure 1).
79% responded that restricting the limit of graduates by the university in a year can improve the unemployment problem (figure 2).
Moreover 74% agreed that the LAC courses offered at the university can affect employability, while 57% think that the guidance office is beneficial (table 1).
|LAC courses are considered helpful||74%||26%|
|The guidance office is considered beneficial||57%||43%|
When asked if a career guidance in schools about “what are the jobs currently needed in the labor market” will be helpful 89% agreed (figure 3).
Also 90% reported that the private sector affects the available jobs and 83% think that affiliations can play a role in employability in the Middle East (table 2).
|Private sector affects employment||90%||10%|
|Affiliations affect unemployment||83%||17%|
The data collected about the social aspect showed that 95% chose to employ a rich family applicant (figure 4).
95% of the female respondents said that a male applicant will get employed faster while 21% of the male respondents said the female applicant (figure 5).
When asked to choose between an applicant with volunteer work in the CV and the other with no volunteering background 89% favored the applicant with volunteer work background (figure 6).
This study was to further investigate the causes of unemployment in Lebanon. Our findings showed that education, labor market and the social aspect of the country are playing key roles in the unemployment issue.
The research showed that the majority of the participants think that their academic performance in the university assessed by the GPA (grade point average), can play an immense role in enhancing their employment chance. Moreover, most of the participants stated that liberal art curriculum offered by their university exposes them to a variety of knowledge fields and thus help them in their job quest. This shows that students’ main focus in university is to guarantee good grades instead of focusing on learning new things. This was particularly seen in the medical field majors: medicine, pharmacy etc. where the participants valued their grades rather than the knowledge provided by the LAC courses. However, the group of the participants who said they are self-employed stated that the LAC courses are important in the work field. In addition, when asked about the guidance office located on campus, only a minority thought that this office is beneficial. Thus, the service provided by the university to help students in their unemployment problem is considered unhelpful. This proves the shift of the student’s goal from getting the best education and succeeding in their career by finding fruitful jobs to getting higher grades, and getting better wages. Their views of education, careers, jobs and reward got affected and changed.
The Labor Market is the place where the available job openings are found so the better we study the labor market the better we know its shortcomings and try to correct it. The labor market is considered a major contributor in the unemployment issue. In particular, the research showed that almost every participant thinks that the dualism of the public and private sector in Lebanon is accentuating the unemployment. This result supports the previously conducted research about the Arab labor market where they concluded as well that the duality of public and private sectors is causing unemployment. Most of the participants found that affiliations can play a major role in getting jobs, once graduated. On the other hand, on contrary to common belief all the other participants who were affiliated stated that their affiliation will not affect their employability, refuting our hypothesis. A huge number of participants found that if the guidance offices in school knew better what jobs are currently needed in the labor market it would have been more beneficial for them during the decision making of their majors, as well as they would have ended up with a guaranteed job at the end of their studies. Students are not well aware of the job openings and availability in the labor market before entering universities and choosing their majors.
The two main ingredients in the society are the social classes and gender. In this section, the two major social differences are analyzed poor vs rich and male vs female. In the first part when we asked participants who they are more likely to employ the majority answered by the richer candidates. This proves that the gap between the social classes will grow even more making the society made of two extreme categories with the absence of middle class. In addition, the needy poor have less chances of getting employed. In the second section when we asked the participants if they choose to employ males or females a big majority answered by males regardless of their gender. This proves the gender discrimination in employment and more specifically the unemployment of the female category. The lack of peer support from the females was surprising. Those outcomes nullified the results of previous research staying that the female unemployment is due to the marriage at an early age culture. In addition, a considerable number of respondents stated that their studied major was influenced by their parents and society, this was shown by the absence of any history and liberal arts students in the sample. The participants opted for majors such as medical school or engineering.
The crisis of unemployment in Lebanon is way more serious then it appears to be. The 3 hypotheses education, labor market and social aspect of the country being the major causes of are confirmed through our research. It covered the gaps and limitations of previously conducted researches. At the end of this findings there are still some gapes to close. The sample was too small, and the participants where all students. We could have had a sample of graduated participants that may know more about the Labor Market. To future avoid unemployment, first the government should study the labor market and accordingly give permission to educate and graduate certain number of professionals. Second the schools should guide students and inform parents about the labor market before they decide the majors they want to apply, study, graduate and work in.
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- Fehling, M., Jarrah, Z., Tiernan, M., Albezreh, S., VanRooyen, M., Alhokair, A., & Nelson, B. (2015;2016;). Youth in crisis in the middle east and north africa: A systematic literature review and focused landscape analysis. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 21(12), 916-930. doi:10.26719/2015.21.12.916
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