The Future of Work and the MENA Demographic Opportunity
The demographics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) present both challenges and opportunities for the labor market and workplace. With half the population of the MENA region under 25 years of age, the region is one of the youngest in the world. As a result, every year 2.8 million young people enter the labor market, where youth unemployment is already more than 27%.
This makes the region ripe for an innovation and technology transformation that has the power to realign the world of work in a way that sustainably generates high growth in terms of new jobs and income. Such a transformation is on its way, thanks to a unique set of forces that include the Industrial Internet, Advanced Manufacturing, and the Global Brain. Together, GE calls these three interrelated forces “The Future of Work.”
During a presentation made on the final day of the three-day HR Summit & Expo in Dubai, Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Officer of GE MENAT, outlined GE’s vision for the enormous opportunities that The Future of Work can offer the region and its workplaces.
“By working together and setting in place an innovation-led co-creation model, the Future of Work provides tools and solutions that individual workers, companies and governments can use to increase local innovation, spur entrepreneurship, improve productivity and expand job opportunities,” she said ahead of the event.
She spoke to the audience about the level of success that could be achieved by leveraging these disruptive forces would be determined by how quickly the region adopts new technologies and enables the collaboration required to fast-track innovation. Ultimately, this would result in new jobs and new job opportunities for people across the region, particularly young people.
Rostom co-authored, along with GE Chief Economist Marco Annunziata, a white paper called “Mapping the Future of Work in MENAT”, that highlights these opportunities. The paper was originally released last month at the World Economic Forum meeting in Istanbul.