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Tourism and agro-food industries could push job creation
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The government should prioritize and support the tourism sector and agro-food industries due to their job creation potential, according to the ‘Unemployment in Lebanon findings and recommendations’ report, submitted to the Economic and Social Council in Lebanon (ECOSOC).

The health, knowledge economy, fashion and jewelry, and construction sectors, follow respectively in job creation potential, according to the report, which built upon existing studies and reports to identify the sectors.

The sectors were prioritized according to six criteria: Job creation potential, sector performance and future growth, youth and women inclusion, training and education potential, skilled and non-skilled jobs, and the geographic coverage of the sector’s jobs.

The report, part of the ‘Technical Assistance to Support Promotion of Social Dialogue in Lebanon’ project, in participation with the Ministry of Labor (MoL), aims to support ECOSOC in providing recommendations to the Lebanese government and to play a role in their implementation.

The report issued recommendations in three major categories: Labor demand side, labor supply side, and matching demand and supply. Focusing on the labor demand side, the report explored the possibility of creating sector committees as advisory bodies for skills development, creating an assessment and certification center, launching mobile incubators, and highlighting quality control.

From a labor supply perspective, the study looks at the approach used to license universities and teaching institutions, as well as introducing quotas within specialties, restructuring Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs, and further developing the TVET strategy.

The study also highlighted the need to empower the National Employment Office (NEO) through the creation of a national career guidance center, a national job portal under NEO, and human resources practices training for the private sector.

According to the study, women still make up a small portion of the labor force. Other challenges include a large informal sector, a long-term unemployment, a high influx of foreign workers and a large number of skilled people seeking and obtaining employment abroad.

There is a growing gap between the labor supply and demand in the market, according to the study. Demand for skilled labor remains lower than supply, creating a significant mismatch in the labor market.

Liberal professions such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, dentists and pharmacists are the most common professions due to their social value and status.

“The study also zoomed in on the labor law which is outdated and requires revisions and updating, and the education system which is often found to be inadequate and ineffective in helping to tackle unemployment in the country,” states the report.

The presence of a large informal market and of a large number of refugees in the country makes it difficult to estimate real numbers when it comes to employment, according to the report.
Reported by Gisele Khalaf
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Date Posted: Mar 22, 2019