The source of all brain drain: Lebanon's university graduates downbeat about their future prospects
A recent survey showed that most new university graduates in Lebanon are not optimistic about finding jobs in the country.
According to the survey, which was carried out by regional job portal Bayt.com and market research agency YouGov, 83 percent of recent graduates in Lebanon considered the availability of jobs in their country to be “low,” compared to 60 percent of recent graduates overall in the 13 Arab countries in which the survey was carried out.
According to the World Bank, unemployment among Lebanese youths is over 25 percent, and this figure is expected to grow as a result of the presence of more than a million Syrian refugees.
According to the survey, the share of respondents in Lebanon who considered the availability of jobs in their country to be ‘low’ is the third highest among the 13 surveyed Arab countries. The only countries in which it was lower were Tunisia (87 percent of new graduates) and Jordan (85 percent of new graduates).
Thirteen percent of recent Lebanese graduates said that the availability of jobs in Lebanon was ‘moderate’ and none of them considered the availability of jobs in the country to be ‘high.’
The survey covered a sample of 1,586 adults aged 18 years or older in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and the UAE.
The survey was conducted online between May 26 and June 26, 2014, and covered a sample of 115 respondents in Lebanon.
“Further, 23 percent of fresh graduates in Lebanon expected to need less than three months to land their first employment or required three months or less to find their first job,” said Lebanon This Week, a publication produced by the Byblos Bank Group.
Sixteen percent of those surveyed in this country anticipated that they would need between three and six months to get their first job or had needed between three and six months to get their first job; 17 percent expected to need or had needed between six and 12 months; while 13 percent of respondents expected to need or had needed more than a year.
Five percent of respondents in Lebanon expected to land or had landed their first job directly through campus placements.
According to the survey, the most common routes to finding a job in Lebanon are online job sites, through family and friends, and direct applications to target companies.
Recent graduates in Lebanon said that their lack of experience was the main challenge they faced when searching for a job, followed by identifying where the employment opportunities existed, developing good interviewing skills, approaching the job search effectively and learning how to apply to relevant jobs.
Twenty-nine percent of recent graduates in Lebanon said that they had received or expected to receive a monthly salary of between $751 and $1,000 in their first job, while 25 percent of respondents had obtained or expected to obtain a monthly pay of $1,001 to $1,500.