While unemployment continues to follow an upward curve, a large majority of Egypt’s leading companies complain that a talent shortage is a major recruitment challenge, according to a report released by Nexford University.

Published on Wednesday by the online American university, the employer survey shows that 78 percent of companies, including PWC, Pfizer and the National Bank of Egypt, said they struggle to find recruits with the right set of skills, namely digital transformation, digital marketing, and the knowledge and practice of business analytics.

“This eye-opening data is consistent with trends we’re seeing across the world, including in the US,” said Nexford University CEO Fadl Al Tarzi. “It is a wakeup call that employers, jobseekers and educators need to rethink the nature of their relationship. The current skill gaps are only going to widen due to the accelerating pace of technology disruption.”

Nexford University is a fully online educational institution that sells itself as a breeder of “leaders not followers”. The Washington DC-based university says that the traditional high education experience has become obsolete and it is time for a paradigm shift.

The university offers both undergraduate and MBA degrees as well as certificates in business, technology and management-related fields.  

Almost half of the employers interviewed said they were looking to hire full-time staff in the next twelve months; however, their recruitment efforts are derailed by a dearth of skills across various sectors. Sixty percent said that sales and marketing positions are “extremely difficult to fill”, while more than half complained that candidates with a solid knowledge of business analytics remain a rarity in Egypt, according to the report.

Egypt struggles with a two-digit unemployment rate. In 2020, the rate jumped from 9.7 to 10.45 percent. For decades, labor experts have pointed to the mismatch between the supply and demand in the job market as the main reason for high unemployment rates. The country’s much-celebrated strategic vision for sustainable development aims to reduce the unemployment rate to 5 percent by the year 2030.

Besides new recruits, the majority of surveyed companies complained that even their existing teams ack some necessary skills including creative thinking, time management and problem solving. Fifty-one percent of employers expressed their willingness to sponsor upskilling programs for their employees, said the report.

The report adds that Nexford University has already partnered with several leading Egyptian companies including Hassan Allam Holding, Ghabbour Auto, and Eva Pharma to upskill their employees.

(Writing by Noha El Hennawy; editing by Seban Scaria)


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