Economics – Employment


Economics – Employment




Overview of the Palestinian Society:


 Youth segment constitutes an important and vital group in all societies, because of the distinguished strengths and tender at this age, as they constitute the component of sustainable development, tender, construction, planning and future leadership. Young people are also a chance to develop their communities and raise them when there are social, economic, political, legislative and educational contexts that ensure embracing different youth abilities, investing them, and direct their compass towards the achievement of public national and societal goals.


 Palestinian society is a young society; the proportion of individuals aged less than 15 years is estimated 40.1 % of the total population in mid- 2013;  On the other hand the young age group( 15-29 years) constitute 29.9 % of the total population of Palestine.

The Estimated Population of Palestine at mid 2013 was about 4.42 Million people; 2.24 million males and 2.18 million females.[1]


Palestinian labor market attributes:


- low participation in the labor market was estimated in the first quarter of 2013 at about 43.4%.[2]

- High rates of poverty and unemployment in the Palestinian society in general, and among youth in particular, as approximately 40% of members of Palestinian society are suffering from poverty or extreme poverty[3], and about a quarter of the Palestinian youth are from poor, with big difference between the rates of poverty which rise in Gaza Strip dramatically, and more than one third of the Palestinian youth are unemployed, and the unemployment rate rises among the highest educated youths, since about half of the graduates (diploma and above) are unemployed. The rate of unemployment among young graduates  is 53.0% during the first quarter of 2013.[4]

- The political reality and resulting geographical division has greatly affected the employment opportunities and led to  a devastating impact on the  market and the private sector.


Women in Labor Market:


 Despite the fact that women's participation in work is an important developmental requirement in the process of sustainable development, the unemployment rate is still high among Palestinian women, reaching 32.9% in 2012 while it was 13.8% in 2001.


According to women's participation as workforce, it has increased during the past ten years, but they are still low in general, reaching 17.4% of the total female working age in the year 2012 compared to 10.3% in 2001, and women's work is limited in the services sector most likely(education, health, secretarial). Meanwhile, men's participation is still increasing by about 4 times the participation of women and the gap remains nearly constant during this period, with a gap also in the rates of daily fare between men and women where the daily fare average for women accounted for 86.8% of the daily fare average for men in 2012.[5]


Hence, we cannot be satisfied in view of what quantitative data reflect without paying attention to their implications and various dimensions. Poverty carries with it all the meanings of dispossession of freedom and opportunity[6], and curbing capacities and potential energy of young people to achieve themselves, and contribute effectively to their communities. Curbing positive capacities among youth, the state of frustration and despair, sense of futility, diminution of human dignity and efficiency generated by poverty and unemployment lead to social problems.



If we look at the most important reasons that have prevented and still

 preventing a wider involvement for women in production and work :


- Political situation experienced by the Palestinian community in terms of the occupation, siege, division and the accompanying poverty, unemployment, uncontrolled security and other social and economic problems that imposes itself on the process of life and social relations between individuals especially between the genders, and lack of resources, available possibilities and the absence of effective strategies. Moreover, the attempt of treating problems resulting from this kind of problems is characterized by the fact that some of them have relieving, distant and medium ranged nature, its features are determined in harmony with progressive needs.



- Weak economic infrastructure and operating areas in general, under-investment in the productive sectors and the problems of development policies, as well as the reluctance of employers for the employment of women because of the additional cost for married women and the consequent pregnancy and childbirth vacations.


- The structural nature of society and the Palestinian economy, which considers many professions reserved for men only, such as trade, industry and senior management positions.


- Lack of specialized vocational training opportunities available to women compared with men, and that will contribute to raising the efficiency of the working Palestinian woman and her ability to get work properly.


- Leakage is one of the fundamental problems faced by women, and the most important reasons for dropping out in social problems, which include family problems, customs and traditions that affect females more, so early marriages contributed to about 52% of the reasons for dropping out for female students.



Empowerment of youth in general and women in particular, on the different areas of empowerment and its levels, a prerequisite for improving the quality of life and improving its chances. This requires mainly providing motivational institutional, legal, socio-economic, educational and political conditions for the participation of youth in various fields of action, influence and benefit. In particular, the economic participation, which considered one of the pillars of active and responsible citizenship, puts youth as an effective power to bring out the desirable developmental change. This necessarily requires providing employment opportunities on the basis of competition and efficiency, and reducing unemployment by following developmental policies that link the needs of society and the labor market with the outputs of educational and training process. This leads to qualifying highest rates of young people to get appropriate jobs that ensure a decent life for them and their families.




Education is considered one of the important aspects of Palestinian life. Rates of joining education institutions in Palestine is one of the highest regional and international standards, and it clearly reflects the importance of education for Palestinians, because of Palestinians' resort after 1948, 1967 wars, their displacement from their land and the loss of many of their possessions, education has become a dire need due to the loss of livelihoods. Palestinians have achieved the highest proportion of learners in the Arab world, which is at the same time one of the highest in the world, so investment in education represents one of the most important elements of sustainable development in the Palestinian society.

Available statistics for 2012 show that 43.1% of young people (15-29 years) enrolled in education by 83.9% in the age group (15-17 years), and 48.3% for the age group (18-22 years) and 11.9% in the age group(23-29 years). The statistics indicate that the dropout rates (both joined and left or never enrolled in education) to the category of young people (15-29 years) in Palestine has reached 31.0% (36.0% for males and 25.8% for females).


On the other hand the 2012 data indicate that the percentage of males (15-29 years) who have completed the first stage of university education bachelor degree or higher was 8.7% versus 11.9% in females (15-29 years). As for those who have not completed any level of education, males' percentage amounted to 3.0% compared with 1.7% for females of the same age group. As well as the data indicate that 0.7% of young people (15-29 years) are illiterate with rate of 0.7% for males and 0.8% for females. [7]


Do education and curriculum applied in the Palestinian territories have a role in the weakness of the Palestinian women entering in the labor market?


Reflection of the social heritage on education factors is illustrated by tracking the status of women in various stages of education.


Literatures related to education special for Palestinian women have noticed that the negative social heritage( customs and traditions) is one of the most important obstacles to the advancement of women, it is also a major cause of discriminating and enhancing its perception of inferiority. This situation starts to emerge when they move to high school, for special reasons relating to traditional social concept of women role, as the prevalent belief in popular communities among the various social groups that marriage and childbearing, the two constitute the main role for the girl as well as the belief of many girls that there is no benefit of completing secondary school because they don't have the desire to complete a college education, due to the economic situation of the family, as many of the middle-income and poor families tend to teach males without females because they see in boys' education another source of family income. As for girls, their fate is to marriage, and women's social work is entrusted with consent of husband.

As well as most of the girls enrolled in higher education, their specialization is limited in the fields of literature, and their presence decrease in professional and technical disciplines; because the available job opportunities are few for girls in this field, because of the lack of community acceptance of women working in non- traditional fields.


As the rate of girls having postgraduate in education, such as: master's, and doctoral degrees for several reasons, most of them are social and economic, related to women understanding of her social role and opportunities for women in the field of postgraduate are very limited.


In general, we can say that the deteriorating economic conditions prompted thousands of students to non-completion of their university education, or lack of access to it and access to the labor market with low qualifications.


There are also many of the problems facing higher education in Palestine, especially in the areas of quality and comfort of higher education with societal needs, especially those relating to the labor market, where the undergraduate majors are characterized by stability and non-development. While the business world is changing dramatically, the Palestinian universities rarely change the nature of specialization depending on the needs of the labor market.



There is also a weakness in the skills possessed by some of the students related to communications, whether language or mastering the use of computers and information technology systems makes their ability to communicate with international bodies very difficult.


In addition to the university relationship as a culture with the local community is very weak, which makes the limited nature of the experiences of students does not exceed being academic rather than a field.


For the potential and required role for civil society organizations to employ non-formal education programs and training:


Civil society institutions has the role of rehabilitation and training for graduates and also extends to the networking stage with the private sector to create jobs and this is in addition to what the university do through graduates' circles.

Some community institutions such as the (Faten Foundation, Islamic Relief, Asala Association and others) provide services in the form of loans or refundable grants for young people to set up their own small projects, but this intervention is limited for the growing numbers of young people, especially graduates.


There are initiatives undertaken by the private sector (Telecom Group and JAWWAL) from the door of social responsibility in operating and training some of the graduates and preparing them for the labor market, but they remain small, serve only tens and at the best case, hundreds of graduates.



Most of the institutions adopt on external funding in their work, if any, which sometimes be directed towards activities imposed by funded, but this does not mean that such activities fit in with the beneficiary class, we note that many of these institutions offer many educational programs and training and of interest to young people, but those drills still be captive  to theoretical orientation, as sometimes there is a repeat in this business. Hence, these institutions have to invest those exercises on a practical level and for the benefit to the institution and to the beneficiaries.


The Society of Women Graduates focuses on the group of women graduates and joins the education sector with the labor sector, where it carries out various training programs to refine graduates with the necessary skills for the job market as well as to acquire the expertise of the practice of professional work through temporary operating projects and that barely covers a part of women graduates' needs.

Due to the limitations of the labor market, and the small size of installations they drive some employers to demand from their employees to work in more than one field at the same time, and does not fit with their specialties and their studies.


But despite these interventions, there is still a slice of graduates who need more programs and projects that support them and contribute to their integration in the society.




- Developing a strategic plan in partnership with all relevant parties such as youth and their families, universities and the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, the private sector and civil institutions, the strategy involves several directions, including the promotion of lifelong learning and support human resource development in Palestine, as well as a focus on guiding students, and in particular in accordance with their interests on the one hand and the needs of the labor market on the other.


- Linking the labor market with training before graduation is a primary key to run.

- Encouraging and stimulating entrepreneurial and creative youth initiatives that enable young people and graduates of opening their own business, including entrepreneurial economic and social entrepreneurship.

- Making a survey to find out the needs of the labor market and orientations of women.

- Changing the societal culture to support its vocational and technical education.

- Guiding young people to vocational education and this requires substantial amendments in the education policies and curricula, and the numbers enrolled in the branches of schooling, and later a college education.

- Encouraging women to join the professional programs through the creation of new and non-traditional programs that contribute to the strengthening of its competitiveness.

- Encouraging  higher education for women through educational grants.



[1] Based on estimates prepared by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) On the Eve of International Population Day on 11/7/2013.

[2] Ibid 1

[3]    According to (PCBS)  in 2013, a family of tow parents and 3 children  the poverty line reached about 2293 NIS, while the extreme poverty line to 1832 NIS

[4] Based on estimates prepared by (PCBS) On the Eve of International youth Day on 15/8/2013

[5]  Based on estimates prepared by (PCBS) On the Eve of International woman Day on 7/3/2013


[6]  Sen, Amartya, " Development as freedom", 1999,

[7] Ibid 4

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