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Egyptian labour market 'very promising,' capable of growth, sustainability

President of the World Employment Confederation (WEC), said the Egyptian labour market is very promising, given its population age and size.
15.05.24 | Source: Ahram Online

These remarks came amid her visit as a keynote speaker at the American Chamber of Commerce’s annual HR Day in Egypt.

The WEC president added that the labour market constituents in Egypt are ready to embrace the shifts in the world of work.

"With a workforce of around 30 million, more opportunities for youth and women, increased labour market participation, and reforms for growth, opportunities are ripe."

Schaller pointed out that the Egyptian labour market also faces some challenges, including the unemployment level, the high proportion of refugees, and the informal economy.

She emphasized that one way to move forward is to establish a regulatory framework that would allow for diverse forms of work to coexist sustainably.

"Regulated and clearly defined types of labour contractual arrangements could deliver decent working conditions, including open-ended contracts, direct fixed-term contracts, and temporary agency work," she said, adding that there is a need to clarify what outsourcing/agency work means.

As for the broader Middle East region, she pointed out the need for appropriate regulation on diverse forms of work. "ILO Convention 181 on private employment agencies should be used as a standard to update regulation in those markets," she noted.

Schaller also stressed that job seekers should not be charged fees for employment services provided by private recruitment agencies.

According to a recent WEC research, in which more than 700 senior executives were surveyed around the world, three major trends are reshaping the labour market, including digital transformation (AI in particular), flexibility in work, and compensation.

The research found that about 92 percent of senior executives said they would need a more flexible workforce in the next two years, and 88 percent of senior executives said increasing the hiring of agency workers would be important for building workforce resilience in the same period. However, half of the organizations want to source workers from under-employed groups.

According to the research, another strategy to make recruitment practices more efficient is using new recruitment platforms to access untapped talent (33 percent) or reducing formal education requirements when hiring.

Moreover, facilitating well-managed work mobility is essential. It was found that migration can play a vital role in increasing the talent pools available to employers.

Additionally, 81 percent of respondents say that increased labour migration has allowed their organization to access talent with high levels of skills, while 78 percent said workers from abroad help fill vital skills gaps at their organizations.

Schaller mentioned that AI creates strategic uncertainty and makes it harder to predict talent needs, but the technology can also transform how organizations analyze and anticipate skills gaps – and fill them.

She added that there are legitimate concerns about how AI will be used, and the risks that it could replicate or worsen existing workplace biases.

She also stated that the WEC has developed a Code of Ethical Principles for using AI, setting out how employers can adopt AI responsibly.

"The Principles on AI also embody those set out in the WEC’s overall Code of Conduct, such as fairness, non-discrimination, diversity, inclusiveness, and privacy."

"According to our survey, 81 percent of senior executives believe that AI will force organizations to radically rethink skills and resources across large areas of the workforce, and 78 percent are concerned that their organization won't be able to train employees fast enough to keep pace with technology developments in the next three years," she explained.

Schaller emphasized that AI will not necessarily ‘replace’ a human worker, but it will serve as a hugely powerful aid to productivity.