Over the past two decades, technological progress has rapidly changed the jobs available to modern youth, but the majority of Arab young people are still focused on traditional jobs that were popular in the past, a recent report found.
Eight out of every 10 students in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia the United Arab Emirates expect to be working in one of 10 traditional jobs at the age of 30. But some of those jobs are at risk of disappearing due to technological development, according to the report, “Dream Jobs? Teenagers’ Career Aspirations and the Future of Work,” issued last month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The report from the Paris-based organization, widely known as the OECD, is part of a larger global conversation among corporations, universities, and policymakers about what the future of work will be and what the effect of forces such as the rise of automation and artificial intelligence will be on employment trends.
Educational institutions are debating how best to prepare young people for the so-called “jobs of the future.” The OECD report, the latest contribution to this conversation, was based partly on questions asked of half a million 15-year-olds in 41 countries who participated in the most recent round of the Programme for International Student Assessment, better known as PISA, which tests students’ abilities in reading, mathematics and science.
Absorbing Aspirations of Others
Across all countries surveyed, teenagers are showing a narrowing focus on traditional 19th- and 20th-century jobs instead of expanding their horizons to consider occupations that might be driven by new trends such as the expanding reach of the Internet. Disadvantaged students were at even higher risk of “career confusion,” the report found, expressing interest in jobs not in line with their own educational skills. Disadvantaged students were also even more narrowly focused on the popular jobs of the past.