Despite decades of regional advancements that have led to the improvement of gender equality in education, according to the OECD less than one in three women in MENA today are in the labor force.
Although young women are coming of professional age amid a historic "young bulge" and rapid technological change, much existing research on female unemployment in the region does not specifically address young women. Today, in collaboration with Bayt.com - the Middle East's leading job site, and Education for Employment (EFE) - the leading youth employment network in the Middle East and North Africa, YouGov is delighted to announce the launch of a new white paper 'First jobs for young women in the Middle East & North Africa: Expectations and Reality'.
The 18-country MENA-wide study addresses the key concerns and the realities faced by young women seeking employment, those already in employment, and employers of both genders looking to hire young women in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). It asks the questions: how do young women look for employment when they enter the job market? What expectations and assumptions shape the transition of young female job seekers as they attempt to enter the working world? How do these compare with the expectations and assumptions of young women who are already in the labor force, and to those – both female and male – who are in a position to hire them?
The results present valuable insight into the hiring practices of employers, as well as the expectations versus reality for young female job seekers and women in employment. Importantly they point to tangible steps that employers, nonprofits, donors, and young women themselves can undertake to increase young women’s employment.
Commenting on the findings, Joao Neves, Senior Research Director, YouGov, said: "This white paper highlights areas where immediate action is possible to enhance the employment outlook of young women across the region. YouGov will continue to look for opportunities to inform and educate the region about the issues that are relevant to reducing youth unemployment across MENA and the urgent need to address them.”
Lama Ataya, Chief Marketing Officer, Bayt.com said, "There seems to be a disparity between the expectations and reality of young women joining the workforce, as well as a lack of either implementation or awareness of hiring policies to encourage the employment of young women in MENA. We are aware of the positive impact women have on the bottom line and are steadfast in our commitment to creating a knowledge sharing environment about the realities of work in the Middle East and North Africa region. By offering valuable insights and real-life data to both employers and job seekers, we can be the change catalyst that empowers young women to gain sustainable employment and close the existing gender gap."
“Over half of Education For Employment’s graduates are young women, and every day we see the profound impact that young employed women create at their companies and in their communities. Collaborating with Bayt.com and YouGov to generate knowledge around the obstacles to young women’s employment is a crucial part of our mission to empower youth in the Middle East and North Africa with the skills and opportunities that they need to build successful careers and bright futures for themselves, their families and their societies,” said Jasmine Nahhas di Florio, Vice President for Strategy & Partnerships, Education For Employment.