Growth in the working age population in the Arab region has been accompanied by stagnant labour force participation, and the highest unemployment levels worldwide among women and young people. The COVID-19 pandemic has further compounded job market challenges, and is expected to increase unemployment significantly.
Moreover, among the 2.8 million net new job market entrants each year, the majority find jobs in the informal sector or in the public sector, with limited job creation in the formal sector.
ESCWA is examining the underlying reasons behind the inability of the Arab region to generate more jobs. It is building a job monitor to help member States develop market policies that reduce the skills mismatch and increase employability, based on measuring demand for skills and matching it with available human capital. ESCWA also supports member States in tackling upcoming changes to jobs and skills, resulting from technological advancements and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
ESCWA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour of Lebanon, held a two-day capacity-building workshop on the theme "Generating productive and inclusive employment for Lebanon" on 7 and 8 October 2020. The workshop provided an updated overview of the Lebanese labour market, based on labour market supply and demand analysis. The workshop focused mainly on SDG 8, and on monitoring economic growth, inclusiveness and productive employment.
Also, under the same type of cooperation, ESCWA conducted a three-day capacity-building workshop on "Digital Technology and Employment" from 14 to 16 October 2020. The workshop raised awareness about the important role of digital technology and innovation in employment and in creating new job opportunities for all, with a focus on youth and women., It also shed light on the main focus areas of national technology plans and policies that have a direct impact on employment.
In addition, ESCWA has created employment profiles for Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia. The profile for Lebanon is coming soon.