Migrants continue to look abroadJobs harder to find in tightening labour market [Archives:2003/692/Business & Economy]

December 8 2003

By Mahyoub al-Kamali
Yemen Times Staff

A growing number of Yemeni who are able to work, including more university graduates than ever before, are unable to find jobs within the country's labour market.
It's estimated that up to 200,000 adults enter the labor pool every year, but economic growth is stagnant and there is a drop in job opportunities.
A recent labour study notes that there is a drop in wages, which is also leading to a migration of national labour. The study shows that Yemen's labour market is also suffering from disparities between male and female employees and between local and expatriate labour.
The study indicates that the number of Yemeni university graduates has risen from 20,000 in 1998 to 100,000 in 2002. At the same time, the needs of the private sector could hire only 1.6 per cent of them and the government sector could hire only 17 per cent of those graduates.
The same study shows hard times in the private sector for a large number of graduates from technical institutes. The private sector accommodated just 2 per cent of those graduates from 1998-2002 while the government sector employed 31 per cent of the graduates.
Yemen's migrating labour force is described as temporary. The study mentioned that the number of migrants to various world countries total 6.5 million. Asian countries receive the most Yemeni migrants, accommodating 5.6 million or 84 per cent of the total expatriate labour.
The Gulf states and other Arab countries receive 12.1 per cent of Yemen's migrants, while the African countries take most of the balance, along with American and European countries.
Pay for Yemen's expatriates dropped in 2002 to $1.2 million, while in 2000 it was $1.3 million in 2000.
The study has come out with many recommendations, mainly:
– Revamping the education systems and reducing of the amount of university graduates,
– Concentrating on technical and vocational institutes and centers for training, according to the labour market needs.
The study concluded that the increase of the Yemeni labour and the population structure in Yemen could be altered into a great economic gain for the country, with training of the labour market, so it can compete in foreign markets.