Any Smart and Educated People Left in the Middle East?
While it has long been known that there is a serious shortage of educated talent in much of the Middle East, a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit has painted a gloomy picture of the region’s ability to attract and retain educated workers.
It’s not surprising that some countries in the Middle East, such as Yemen or Syria, have a huge problem with emigration when it comes to their educated workers. High unemployment, low salaries and strict government control over the population apparently don’t equate to a desirable place to live. In Iran, where official statistics state that unemployment is only ten percent (most economists estimate that figure to be twice as high) approximately 150,000 people emigrate each year, which represents over one-sixth of new workers capable of joining the labor force each year. More problematically, those who have the opportunity to emigrate tend to be the most educated members of the population, creating a shortage of skilled employees and university professors.
What is surprising about this report is that two countries in the Middle East, each with a stable and growing economy, are ranked in the bottom five of the thirty countries in the newly developed Global Talent Index (GTI). The countries, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have both been identified by Goldman Sachs as countries with promising outlooks for investment and growth. For these two countries the news isn’t all bad. Both states are projected to move up in the rankings in the next five years, with Egypt overtaking Brazil and Turkey in overall rankings.
The U.S. is ranked number one on the GTI with the U.K. coming in second.
The GTI study was conducted by Heidrick & Struggles, as U.S. based company, you can order a free copy here.