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Have you ever wondered how recruitment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) compares to the rest of the world? The answer might surprise you. MENA’s unique blend of culture, economy, and tradition has crafted a recruitment landscape. 

Here, we’ll explore the distinctive aspects of recruitment in the MENA region, shedding light on the practices, challenges, and opportunities that set it apart globally. Let’s delve into the fascinating world of MENA recruitment and uncover what makes it so distinct.


Key takeaways

  1. The future of jobs and skills in MENA
  2. Addressing gender disparity 
  3. Strategies for the future


1. The future of jobs and skills in MENA

It’s important to consider the future of recruitment in MENA, as the region’s dynamic demographics and economic diversity shape its labor markets. With a young, educated, and rapidly growing population, MENA holds immense potential for future growth. However, to fully realize this potential, the region must address several key challenges. 

MENA’s population is expected to grow significantly by 2030, with a substantial portion being prime working age. However, the current status of human capital optimization in the region, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index, reveals that MENA is currently capturing only 62% of its full human capital potential, falling below the global average of 65%. Conflict-affected nations such as Yemen and Mauritania have the lowest levels of human capital optimization.

  • In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), many young people can’t find jobs, and about 30% of those without jobs are youth who have gone to university.
  • These young people often have to wait longer to find work, which isn’t good for the region’s workforce.


2. Addressing gender disparity

Gender disparity in the workforce is a pressing concern in the MENA region that requires immediate attention. MENA has a significant gap in the participation of men and women in the labor market, which not only hampers social equity but creates a significant strategic challenge for achieving sustainable economic progress. Closing the gender gap in employment is vital for several reasons. 

  • Firstly, it is a matter of social justice and equality. 
  • Ensuring that both men and women have equal access to employment opportunities is a fundamental human rights issue. 
  • Gender equity in the workforce promotes fairness, inclusivity, and social cohesion. 
  • In addition to being morally required, eliminating gender inequality is also practically necessary. 
  • The lack of representation of women in the workforce signifies a substantial unexplored potential. Nations can utilize the benefits of enhanced productivity, innovation, and economic growth by granting women the necessary empowerment and opportunities to engage fully in the economy. 
  • A diversity of perspectives and skills facilitates more effective decision-making and problem-solving, leading to increased economic success.


To unlock the vast potential of MENA’s labor force, governments, businesses, and institutions must work collaboratively in addressing these challenges. 

  • This entails investments in education, vocational training, and skills development, particularly for the youth. 
  • Additionally, initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and innovation can stimulate job creation and economic diversification.
  • Efforts to reduce gender disparities and create inclusive work environments should be prioritized to ensure women are fully integrated into the workforce, contributing their skills and expertise to the region’s economic development.


3. Strategies for the future

In the coming years, the job landscape and recruitment in MENA will change a lot. The region’s growing workforce, combined with other economic and social factors, will lead to the emergence of entirely new types of jobs, the decline of some occupations, and new skill requirements for all kinds of work.

This shift in the job market could help middle-income countries with many workers expand their manufacturing sector and help rich Gulf nations diversify their economies and improve their company culture. Furthermore, this will aid the poorest countries by integrating their local job markets into larger supply chains and industries.


However, there’s also a downside.

  • These new technologies could replace many jobs in several MENA countries, increasing concerns about higher unemployment, especially for the already struggling youth. 
  • Even the jobs that manage to withstand automation will undergo substantial changes, necessitating the development of new and adapted skill sets.
  • For recruitment in MENA to thrive in this changing job landscape, there needs to be investment in better education, help people learn new skills, and adapt to new ways of working.
  • They should also focus on hard and soft infrastructure projects, such as childcare, eldercare, and education facilities, as these can create many new jobs and balance gender disparities.

By the year 2025, the culmination of these efforts has the potential to yield hundreds of thousands of new jobs and impart a substantial boost to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries such as Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. These anticipated changes in the top jobs in the Middle East represent a call to action, demanding adaptability, investment, and proactive engagement with emerging opportunities while mitigating the accompanying challenges. 



In conclusion, recruitment in the MENA region presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. With a growing, young population, evolving skill requirements, and the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, MENA’s recruitment landscape is distinct from the rest of the world. It demands a focus on education, skills development, and adapting to the changing job market.

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