By: Asma Al-mohattwari
“Nowadays, only well-to-do people and those with strong connections or a relative in an institution can find a job,” said Osama, who has suffered with unemployment for five years. Osama graduated from Sana’a University’s engineering faculty seven years ago. He excelled as a student and all his friends expected that he would have a bright future.
Following graduation, Osama submitted his certificates to civil service institutions before looking for a job in the private sector. However, he met with no success. “I distributed my CV to many companies, but I received neither a job in the government sector nor in the private sector. I was so depressed and I didn’t know what I should do,” he said. One day, Osama’s neighbor suggested that he work with him at his cafeteria. Without giving it much thought, Osama accepted the work and is now a good cook.
“I really regret the days I spent studying and struggling to get high marks. I remember my friends’ speeches about my bright future. Now I invite all my friends to come and see my achievements,” said Osama, a sad smile on his face.
Osama struggled a great deal to achieve his dreams and ambitions, yet he failed. He eventually accepted work which didn’t suit his qualifications. Many university graduates refuse to do the same, and spend their time at home, unemployed.
Millions of university graduates suffer from unemployment in Yemen. Official statistics show that the rate of unemployment for both men and women exceeded 35% in 2010. An official report stated that the reasons behind this increasing number of unemployed citizens came in response to the effects of the global financial crisis on the labor sector, a lack of new job opportunities and reduced government involvement in economic activities.
Dr. Murad Al-Azzany, a professor of linguistics at Sana’a University, said the main factor behind unemployment is the absence of national plans and policies by which the government could develop a good working analysis of its needs and goals, which, if present, would allow the youth to be seen as a good investment by which the nation could achieve its goals.
“Before, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regie would assign a huge budget for the military, as part of the regime’s efforts to keep itself in a position of power,” said Al-Azany. “At no time was unemployment one of the regime’s concerns – that is why the problem reached this degree, with six million unemployed according to the president of the country,” he added.