Jordan launches scheme to tackle unemployment

Published January 15th, 2013 - 11:08 GMT
The labour ministry started receiving applications from job seekers wishing to benefit from the employment campaign
The labour ministry started receiving applications from job seekers wishing to benefit from the employment campaign

His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday attended a ceremony to launch the National Employment Campaign, which is aimed at providing 18,000 job opportunities.

The government will implement the initiative, which will run under the title “We are all partners”, involving more than 120 public sector institutions.

As of Sunday, the labour ministry, through its offices across the country, started receiving applications from job seekers wishing to benefit from the employment campaign, which will send them to jobs in the wholesale, retail, transport, storage, communications, construction and hospitality sectors.

In his address at the event, which was also attended by HRH Princess Sumaya and Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour as well as senior government officials and representative from the private sector, Labour Minister Nidal Katamine said beneficiaries from the campaign will be offered social security coverage and health insurance.

He added that they will also be provided with a satisfactory monthly income that should help them secure a decent living and a stable source of income.

“The campaign includes two parts; the first will be direct employment for skilled hands while the second part will be offering the applicants jobs while training them in the workplace,” Katamine said.

He noted that the jobs will be in sectors that have priority in demand based on studies of the labour market.

“This campaign is being implemented as part of the government’s National Employment Strategy, which was launched in June last year with the objective to create thousands of jobs for unemployed Jordanians,” the minister said at the ceremony on Sunday.

He stressed that the “culture of shame”, which refers to the perception that Jordanians tend to reject jobs in certain professions, no longer exists, adding that this has encouraged the ministry, in cooperation with the private sector, to find jobs for both genders in professions that are considered key pillars to supporting the national economy.

Katamine said the ministry’s meetings with civil society institutions and employers resulted in signing several agreements with employers to provide 18,000 jobs locally, noting that more opportunities will be provided to Jordanians in the regional market.

“The ‘We are all partners’ campaign comes at a time where the number of job seekers is on the rise and has become a real challenge to the economy and social life in the Kingdom,” he stressed.

According to the ministry’s official figures, some 34 per cent of the population are of working age, 40.5 per cent of whom reside in the capital.

The ministry’s statistics also showed that the unemployment rate has reached 12.9 per cent — 11 per cent among males and 21.2 per cent among females — taking into account that more than 600,000 foreign labourers are working in the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Moeen Qadadeh, representing the private Manasir Group, stressed the group’s keenness to employ local workers, adding that more than 7,000 Jordanians are employed in its subsidies.

However, he added, due to the fact that some Jordanians still shun working in gas stations, the Manasir Group had to resort to employing foreign workers, who constitute 7 per cent of its working staff.

“Out of our national responsibility, we will continue our efforts to replace foreign workers with Jordanians. We have started training programmes to offer local job seekers an opportunity to secure jobs in one of our companies,” he said, adding that the group has signed agreements with the labour ministry through the “We are all partners” initiative to employ 400 Jordanians.

McDonald’s, meanwhile, which has a chain of restaurants operating across the country, employs only Jordanians, who number 9,500, the chain’s representative Ahmad Armoush said at the event, adding that McDonald’s has signed an agreement with the labour ministry to offer an additional 1,800 opportunities for local job seekers.

“Our recruitment policy is based on offering equal opportunities to both genders. We offer them jobs where they can progress and get promoted, with some becoming general managers of our local branches,” he said, adding that the company offers social security and health coverage for its staff.

Jordan Clothing Company CEO Badi Rafayaa said the company prefers to recruit Jordanians, adding that it has provided 120 jobs to female job seekers in the southern town of Al Huseiniyah.

Sharing their stories with the audience, Majd Rawashdeh, from the southern governorate of Tafileh, who works at a mall in Amman, and Alaa Maslamani, who works as a supervisor at a gas station, said they accepted those jobs despite the long distance from home and the social and cultural challenge.

They added that their jobs provide them with a stable income that helps them support their families.

The event concluded with a theatrical performance by the Street Theatre troupe.

Senate President Taher Masri, Royal Court Chief Riyad Abu Karaki and King’s Office Director Imad Fakhoury also attended the ceremony.

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