EDUCATION & EMPLOYABILITY

The Yawning Skill Gap in Egypt

Today, the official count of unemployment figures in Egypt stand at 4 million Yet, at the same time, more than million jobs sit unfilled. This is the “skills gap”—the gulf between the skills job seekers currently have and the skills employers need to fill their open positions.

This is the paradox of labor markets in Egypt. More young people than ever are searching for jobs, while at the same time, the private sector is encountering increasing difficulty in its search for qualified employees.

This paradox results from a severe mismatch between the skills employers need and the supply of graduates trained in those skills. That imbalance, in turn, is the result of an education system that fails to meet the needs of the job market. The disconnect between education and actual market needs is inflicting serious damage on youth, business, and society at large.

The job opportunities that are opening up do not necessarily require college degrees, nor do they demand an educational background beyond the reach of most job seekers. But they do require specialized skills that can only be attained through focused and effective training. The challenge is giving workers the chance to acquire the right skills for the jobs in their communities.

To achieve that goal, we must first have reliable local-level data to tell us exactly what jobs are available in which market and what specific skills are required to fill those jobs. It’s not enough to know that the country as a whole needs more machinists. Local leaders need an accurate picture of the specific jobs that are opening up in their regions and the skills employers need from their workers.