Lebanon Businessnews News

Plan to secure jobs for fresh graduates launched
30,000 college students graduated in 2010
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The National Employment Office (NEO) launched on Monday, September 10, the ‘First job for youth’, a new program designed to encourage companies to hire fresh graduates.

The program gained Cabinet approval in late July. It will be implemented by the NEO, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Labor.

The new program entails offering incentives to employers, encouraging them to provide job opportunities for young graduates. “Firms who hire fresh graduates will be fully exempted from paying social security fees (for these employees) during the first year of employment,” said Jean Abi Fadel, director general of the NEO. These firms, he said, will be exempted from paying two thirds of the social security subscriptions during the first six months of the second year, and one third of these fees during the second six months.

The fees due to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) will be covered by the NEO. The five year-program is funded by the government, and has a budget of some $6.6 million.

There were some 30,000 college graduates in 2010, according to figures released by the Educational Center for Research and Development (CRDP). “While there are no accurate counts of the unemployment rate, it is obvious that the local labor market is not being able to absorb new graduates due to the economic recession,” said Ahmad Jammal, director general of Higher Education at the Ministry of Education.

A study published by the Central Administration of Statistics (CAS) showed that during the academic year 2009-2010, education was more oriented towards humanities and social sciences. Around 39 percent of students enrolled in universities have chosen social sciences, business, and law. “Students seeking higher education are often oriented towards the services sectors, like banking and hospitality,” said Jammal.

The second largest field of education chosen was humanities and arts, in which around 21 percent of students were enrolled.

Students are sometimes obliged to go for humanities, said Jammal. “Students who are not accepted at the engineering school and who can’t afford private colleges usually choose one of the humanities majors available at the Lebanese University,” he said.

Sciences were chosen by 16 percent of students. According to Jammal the local market is saturated with popular scientific majors: “We have a surplus in civil engineers and pharmacists, yet we still lack much needed majors in other engineering majors, like petrochemical engineering.”
Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Sep 10, 2012
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