20 Apr

Jordan News - AMMAN — The 2022 National Employment Program, which is expected to provide 60,000 Jordanians job opportunities in the private sector, is seen by some experts in the field of labor market as “traditional and useless”.

Experts interviewed by Jordan News said that the government should come up with a plan that helps harmonize the program with the requirements of the labor market.

Head of the Workers’ House Hamada Abu Nijmeh told Jordan News that “the program is expected to be an important contributor, to enhance employment opportunities and to link job seekers with job opportunities”.

“However, it is a support program for employers more than it is a program to reduce unemployment, as it will not contribute to a significant reduction in unemployment rates,” he stressed.

“It may contribute to lowering the growing unemployment rate, but will not be a solution to the problem of unemployment in light of the large number of new entrants into the labor market as job seekers, which is approximately 110,000 people annually,” he added.

While admitting that he did not know “the fate of similar programs announced by the government in the past few years”, or whether they achieved their goals and succeeded in reaching the announced numbers, he said that “it is important before repeating this experience to run an evaluation of previous programs to ensure the extent of their success and the seriousness of the concerned parties in the public and private sectors in doing their roles”.

According to him, over 400,000 people are unemployed, and, “accordingly, we need to create approximately 250,000 new job opportunities, at least, to bring the unemployment rate to what it was in 2014, when it reached 11.5 percent, which is the lowest during the past 20 years”, and similar to the “current Arab average of unemployment”.

To achieve this, he said, “there is no alternative to attracting new investments and establishing institutions, factories and projects that provide this number of job opportunities”.

Abu Nijmeh emphasized that “if we really want to reach a relatively acceptable level of unemployment, we must create a labor market that employs at least 1.65 million citizens, which is difficult to achieve without developing a national emergency plan in which various official bodies and representatives of the private sector participate, and without a real activation of the partnership with the private sector”.

According to Abu Nijmeh, it is also important to address the imbalances in university education policies that take into account the requirements of the labor market and its needs for competencies, and developing vocational training programs to keep pace with recent developments in training policies and programs.

To ensure the success of training and employment programs, Abu Nijmeh said that they must be designed for jobs and professions that are actually required in the labor market, “to ensure that job opportunities are provided to them after completing training, and are in accordance with the technical requirements of employers”.

Director of the Phoenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies Ahmad Awad told Jordan News that the program “may not be able to contribute to a tangible reduction in unemployment rates in view of the very high unemployment rates, which reached 23 percent”.

He said that a quick review of the employment programs implemented by successive governments over the past years showed “that they did not succeed in reducing unemployment rates. In fact, unemployment rates are constantly increasing, which indicates their ineffectiveness”.

He added that few graduates are qualified to enter the labor market due to the weakness of the education and training system, wondering “why many of our students prefer getting university education instead of vocational education, despite the fact that in some modern countries most of the students prefer getting vocational education”.

Awad claimed that one of the main reasons for the significant rises in unemployment rates is the government’s inability to establish mega-projects due to the difficult economic conditions.

He stressed that in order for the program to succeed this year, it must be expanded and linked to the requirements of the labor market, and a real action plan should be drawn up to that effect.

Despite numerous attempts to contact the minister of labor, he was not available for comment.

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