Making the Match

Speeches Shim

Thursday, October 28, 2021
USAID sponsored job fair in Aden, Yemen.
Photo: ERLP

Workforce development programs help Yemen employers & job seekers 

“The job fair was a hub for qualified people. We had the opportunity to interview and compare their skill sets to hire the best fit.” – Arfat Mohamed, HR Manager, Al Diaa Towers for Electricity Trading

For 33-year-old, Qais Sadeq Bare’a, the path to a rewarding career has been challenging. Good jobs are hard to come by for young Yemenis and Mr. Bare’a’s marketing degree did not guarantee that he could meet the expectations of the modern labor market.  After graduation he sharpened his skills through a series of different positions, but still struggled finding fulfilling employment.

“Educational outcomes don’t match the labor market demands, and there is a lack of courses or practical training to cultivate the necessary skills that employers want to see,” said Mr. Bare’a.

For employers, the challenge of finding qualified candidates is equally frustrating.

“When we post job openings on social media we receive many applicants, but less than two percent are qualified,” said Arfat Mohamed, Human Resources Manager for Al Diaa Towers for Electricity Trading.

To help bridge the gap between employers and  job seekers, USAID’s Economic Recovery and Livelihoods Program (ERLP) implements programs focused on workforce development and employment support in Yemen. Program experts reach out to companies in expanding business sectors to identify their workforce needs. Then they work with educational institutions and prospective job candidates to help ensure employee skills match business needs. 

USAID develops targeted employment development activities such as bringing healthcare workers up to speed on Covid safety and prevention protocols, teaching new skills  to leather workers, or designing a customized program to strengthen the capacities of production line staff in women-owned garment factories.

USAID experts also work with educational institutions to create new training curricula that prepare young professionals and technicians to meet the requirements of high-growth sectors including  renewable energies, software programming, and health management.  

In August, USAID hosted two job fairs in Aden and Mukalla. More than 45 companies participated in the job fairs. USAID screened the more than 1,500 applications, inviting those whose backgrounds and job skills most closely fit recruiters’ requirements to attend. In anticipation of the job fairs, USAID hosted trainings for job seekers focused on job search skills. During these sessions, participants strengthened their resume writing and interview skills, as well as practicing soft skills such as communication and effective time management. 

Potential employers conducted 640 interviews and made 170 job offers on the spot.  Another 220 candidates were invited to take part in second round interviews.

Among the successful job seekers was Mr. Bare’a, who spoke with four different recruiters and ultimately accepted a job offer from Al Diaa Towers for Electricity Trading.

“We usually face so many difficulties finding good employment opportunities, but the job fair provided a direct link to reputable companies and good jobs. Now I look forward to exciting new challenges and building solid connections with people in my chosen field,” said Mr. Bare’a. 

For human resources managers, the event was equally productive.

“At first, I thought we were going to interview recent graduates or inexperienced candidates,” said Mr. Mohamed. “To my surprise, we found there were many experienced and highly qualified candidates. We filled four positions and saved more resumes for later. We are planning to open a new factory, so we know we will need to hire more employees.”

The right person in the right position is a sentiment echoed by human resources managers worldwide. However, in Yemen, boosting enterprise competitiveness is vital.  Yemen’s small but burgeoning private sector is critical to resolving the country’s dependence on foreign aid and USAID is dedicated to helping businesses create new jobs and new hope.

USAID’s Economic Recovery and Livelihoods program (ERLP) addresses critical economic stabilization challenges in Yemen. At the macroeconomic level, it works with public and private institutions to restore economic stability, enhance fiscal management, and increase international trade flows. At the microeconomic level, ERLP strengthens private sector performance and competitiveness—creating jobs, raising incomes, and improving livelihoods.

 

Last updated: January 05, 2022

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