Labour markets performance and migration flows in Jordan

Type Working Paper
Title Labour markets performance and migration flows in Jordan
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 119-155
URL information/Literature/Labour Market and​Migration/3lmmfinal3jordan.pdf
Outward migration
Since the 1970s, a significant proportion of skilled Jordanians have
emigrated to work in GCC countries. This h
as eased pressure on the Jordanian labour market,
especially given the high proportion of unemploye
d university graduates. The Jordanian economy
has one of the world’s highest levels of remitta
nces as a proportion of GDP and remittances are a
key source of income and foreign exchange for Jordan.

Inward migration
Around one quarter of Jordan’s workfo
rce is composed of migrant workers,
the overwhelming majority of whom are enga
ged in low-skill, low-wage employment. Our
analysis supports the argument that many of
these migrants compete with low-skill unemployed
Jordanians for employment, rather than comple
menting the existing workforce. Moreover, they
undercut Jordanian workers’ wages.

Brain Drain
Despite the high outflow of skilled workers, there remains a significant number of
skilled unemployed in Jordan, who hold qualifications
relevant to the needs of the labour market.
Although many employers perceive a lack of skills
in the Jordan labour force, the educational
profile of the unemployed shows that the problem is
often not a lack of relevant qualifications, but
a lack of skills among those holding such qualifications.

Jordan suffers from consistently hi
gh unemployment rates. Jordanian
unemployment is a youth phenomenon both in te
rms of absolute numbers and in terms of
unemployment rates. Also worth noting are high unemployment rates among females, though their
low level of economic activity means that they ar
e not a large group in terms of absolute numbers.

Labour market participation
Jordan has one of the lowest rates of labour market participation in
the world. A main factor underlying this is the lo
w rate of female labour force participation. Most
economically active women in Jo
rdan come from mid-to-high socio-economic backgrounds and
have high educational attainme
nt. It is among less educated women from poorer socio-economic
backgrounds that economic activity rates are extrem
ely low. It is worth noting that remittances in
Jordan accrue mostly to prosperous households with high educational attainment. This suggests
that remittances are not a major factor in decreasing women’s labour market participation in
Jordan, as is the case in many other countries.

Related studies