labor market survey

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ALRCSON Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing. CAS .... as far back as the year 2009 (The American University of Beirut's Alumni Relations Office & The.

LABOR MARKET SURVEY Report in fulfillment of the USP VII Award AID-268-A-15-00002

Diane Nauffal i

January 2016

TABLE OF CONTENTS ACRONYMS ................................................................................................................................. iv CONTRIBUTORS ...........................................................................................................................v EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ........................................................................................................... vi OVERVIEW OF THE LEBANESE LABOR MARKET ...............................................................1 OBJECTIVES ..................................................................................................................................3 METHODOLOGY ..........................................................................................................................3 i. Alumni survey .......................................................................................................................4 ii. Employer survey....................................................................................................................4 iii. Semi-structured telephone interviews with employers .........................................................5 iv. Interviews with key figures in syndicates, chambers of commerce and NGOs ....................6 v. Print and online media content analysis ................................................................................6 LIMITATIONS OF METHODOLOGY..........................................................................................7 ANALYSIS OF RESULTS .............................................................................................................7 i. Employment statistics............................................................................................................8 a. Employment statistics for the public sector ..................................................................... 8 b. Statistics for the professional fields –engineering and nursing ........................................ 8 c. Employment statistics for graduates in nursing ............................................................... 9 d. Employment statistics for graduates in engineering ........................................................ 9 ii. Labor force participation of LAU alumni .............................................................................9 iii. Majors correlated with employment....................................................................................10 iv. Recruitment patterns............................................................................................................11 a. Recruitment patterns through the eyes of employers ..................................................... 11 b. Recruitment patterns through the eyes of representatives of chamber of commerce ..... 12 c. Recruitment patterns through print and online media .................................................... 13 d. Recruitment patterns reflected through market demand ................................................ 14 v. Impact of internships on employment .................................................................................15 vi. Employees soft skill sets .....................................................................................................15 vii. Employer sponsorship of undergraduates ...........................................................................17 CONCLUSION ..............................................................................................................................17 WORK PLAN TO INFORM APPLICANTS OF ANY CHANGES ............................................23 Appendix A: Demand for majors ................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined. Appendix B: Surveys ..................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined. i. Alumni Survey .................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined. ii. Employer Survey ................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined. iii. Semi-structured Interview ................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined. ii

Appendix C: List semi-structured telephone interviews with employers .... Error! Bookmark not defined. Appendix D: Key figures in syndicates, chambers of commerce and NGOs ..... Error! Bookmark not defined. Appendix E: CV............................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined. i. CV of Diane Nauffal, Author .............................................. Error! Bookmark not defined. ii. CV of Rania Kassab, External Consultant, Field Work Coordinator Error! Bookmark not defined. Bibliography ..................................................................................................................................24

LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Registered engineers and nurses in 2014 ........................................................................... 8 Table 2 Sponsoring Companies .................................................................................................... 17 Table 3 Majors offered to USP students ....................................................................................... 19

LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 Profile of participating alumni.......................................................................................... 4 Figure 2 Profile of employers’ companies and organizations participating in the survey.............. 5 Figure 3 Profile of employers’ companies and organizations interviewed by telephone ............... 6 Figure 4 Alumni by year of graduation......................................................................................... 10 Figure 5 Majors of employed alumni............................................................................................ 11 Figure 6 Recruitment patterns by major ....................................................................................... 12 Figure 7 Distribution of job postings in print and online media ................................................... 13 Figure 8 Majors in high demand based on postings in print and online media ............................ 14 Figure 9 Distribution of internships by industry and economic sector ......................................... 15 Figure 10 Alumni perceived soft skills set needed for successful employment ........................... 16 Figure 11 Employer’s perceived soft skill set for successful employment .................................. 16

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ACRONYMS ACTED

Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development

AKSOB

Adnan Kassar School of Business

ALRCSON

Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing

CAS

Center for Administrative Statistics

CCIATNL

Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Tripoli and North Lebanon

CCIAZB

Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Zahleh and Bekaa

DIRA

Department of Institutional Research and Assessment

FCCIAL

Federation of Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Lebanon

HELMOL

Higher Education and Labor Market Outcomes in Lebanon

ILO

International Labor Organization

IMF

International Monetary Fund

LAU

Lebanese American University

LCPS

Lebanese Center for Policy Studies

LMA

Labor Market Assessment.

LMS

Labor Markey Survey

NGO

Non-profit Organization

OEA

Order of Engineers and Architects

ON

Order of Nurses

SArD

School of Architecture and Design

SAS

School of Arts and Sciences

SOE

School of Engineering

UNESCO

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

USP

University Scholarship Program

USP-USAID

University Scholarship Program- United States Agency for International Development

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CONTRIBUTORS Diane Nauffal, Project Manager; Assistant Professor, Department of Education, SAS; Executive Director for DIRA, LAU Rania Kassab, External Consultant, Field Work Coordinator Samer Khoury, Lead Institutional Research Officer, DIRA, LAU Marwan Rowayheb, Associate Professor, Acting Chair for the Department of Social Sciences, SAS, LAU Nadine Zeeni, Assistant Professor, Department of Natural Science, SAS, LAU Amal Rohana, Instructor, Department of Management Sciences, AKSOB, LAU Barbar Akle, Assistant Dean, SOE; Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering, SOE, LAU Maria Bahous, Adjunct Faculty, Department of Design, SArD, LAU Mahmoud Ghouzail, Clinical Instructor, ARCSON, LAU Aya El-Mir, Career Guidance Associate Manager, Dean of Students, LAU Rana Sakr, Lead Career Guidance Officer, Dean of Students, LAU Lina Abou Chacra, Career and Placement Officer, AKSOB, LAU Nicole Bou Farhat, Career and Placement Lead Officer, SOE, LAU Rania Daoud, Graduate Assistant, LAU Jamileh Youssef, Graduate Assistant, LAU

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The LMS sought to explore the demands of the Lebanese job market that can be linked to existing majors at LAU to enhance the employability prospects of its graduates and in particular the graduates of the USP program as well as identify majors offered by LAU that are correlated with gainful employment. Through surveys and interviews with different stakeholders of LAU, such as alumni, employers, representatives of syndicates, chambers of commerce and NGOs, the study sought to determine the specific soft skills students should acquire during their course of undergraduate studies and the involving settings and inclusive learning experiences students should engage in to enhance their learning and overall development. By description, this is a rapid labor market survey limited in scope and time. Despite the limited participation of alumni, the qualitative data obtained in surveys and interviews based on perceptions and the lack of quantitative data on employment in the country, the findings allow the identification of key trends in the Lebanese market. The convergence of the quantitative data obtained through the surveys, the media advertising outlets and through interviews allow the formulation of recommendations to improve employability prospects of LAU’s graduates in general and USP graduates in particular. Findings show that there is no difference in employment rates based on gender but a difference does exist based on year of graduation. Unemployment rates ranged from 4-19% for all alumni who graduated between 2010-2011 and 2013-2014. For the more recent graduating class of 20142015 the unemployment rate was 50% at graduation and six months after graduation. This discrepancy in graduation rates across years is well explained by the time from graduation. Alumni who reported being employed majored primarily in Business, Engineering, Computer Science, Communication Arts, Political Science & International Affairs, Psychology, Graphic Design, Architecture, Interior Architecture, Interior Design, Pharmacy and Nursing. More than 80% of LAU alumni were employed in fields related to their major. The remaining 20% reported working in fields not related to their major. They were mainly working in fields that required an academic background in Business, Marketing, Accounting, Management, Banking and Finance, and Journalism. Findings also show that employers tend to recruit more employees in Accounting, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Marketing, Electrical Engineering, Management, and Graphic Design and to a somewhat lesser extent in Translation, Arabic, Biology, Chemistry, Industrial Engineering, Mathematics, Nursing, Information Technology, Journalism, Economics, Fine Arts, Nutrition, Architecture and Social Work. Results obtained from scanning job postings in print and online media confirmed those obtained from the alumni and employer surveys. The academic majors in highest demand over the past six months were Management, Accounting, Marketing, Computer Science, Banking and Finance, Computer Engineering, English, Architecture and Economics.

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With over 85% of USP graduates are currently employed and an employment rate of 82% six months after graduation, which surpasses the institutional employment rate for the same cohort, almost all majors currently offered to USP students’ clearly link positively to employment. Based on the results derived from the alumni and employer surveys, interviews with key figures and those of print and online media, new majors that could be added to the existing ones which appear to link favorably to employment are, primarily, Business-Marketing, Business-Management Information Systems and Architecture. Similar favorable yet slightly weaker linkages to employability were found for majors in design such as Interior Architecture and Interior Design as well as Multimedia Journalism, Television and Film and Petroleum Engineering. A major recommended to be omitted from the list of majors offered to USP scholars is Chemistry for its very weak link to potential employment. There are more employment opportunities in Beirut and Mount Lebanon compared to other regions. Two thirds of LAU’s alumni reported working in the capital and its suburbs. Only 10% of alumni were working in other regions of Lebanon, while about 22% of alumni reported working overseas. Majors linked to employability were similar for all regions of Lebanon. Engaging in higher order learning practices such as internships and job apprenticeships was valued positively by LAU alumni and by the employers surveyed. A positive relationship was found between participation in internships and employment with more than a third of students reporting they were employed by the company that offered them an internship. The perceptions of LAU’s graduates converged with those of employers in relation to their possession of the academic knowledge and the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace. Key figures emphasized personal qualities they thought essential for productive and rewarding employment such as persistence, patience, reliability and modesty.

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OVERVIEW OF THE LEBANESE LABOR MARKET Although recent statistics on the labor market and employment in Lebanon are not available 1, we can still conclude from past statistics and recent research that the Lebanese labor market faces key challenges. A study conducted by the LCPS sets the youth unemployment rate at 24% which has hindered the country’s economic performance (Kawar and Tzannatos 2013). According to the World Bank’s Country Overview Report (2014), the economy of Lebanon is a developing economy, with a private sector that contributes to 75% of aggregate demand and a large banking sector that supports this demand. GDP per capita in Lebanon, again according to the World Bank, was last recorded at $7,315.19 in 2014 with an annual growth of 2%. Lebanon's GDP per capita averaged $5,522.46 from 1988 until 2014, reaching an all-time high of $7,315.19 in 2014 and a record low of $2,688.77 in 1989. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented with real estate, construction, banking and tourism being the main sectors driving growth according to the World Bank (2010). Other key indicators are the following: employment in agriculture is 6.3%, employment in industry is 21% and employment in services is 72.6% of total employment (World Bank 2014). No discussion of the Lebanese economy and labor markets can exclude the war in Syria which led to an influx in the number of refugees in Lebanon starting in 2011, and severely impacted the economy. A Labor Assessment study conducted by ACTED (2014) indicates that there are 315,000 registered Syrian refugees in Beirut and Mount Lebanon alone (this figure excludes the nonregistered refugees, whose numbers are said to be significant). The ACTED assessment quotes the Lebanese Ministry of Labor as saying the unemployment rate in Lebanon rose by 23 % since the influx of Syrian refugees. According to a Selected Issues Paper (2014) by the IMF, the refugee crisis had added significant pressure on unemployment in Lebanon, especially in the low-skilled sector, mainly domestic services and agriculture, with more than 60% of refugees employed in those positions. The study goes on to explain that refugees are willing to accept lower pay which has depressed wages even further than they already were and displaced Lebanese workers, potentially increasing the Lebanese unemployment rate up to 20% (Jarmuzek, Puyo and Nakhle 2014). The same study by the IMF, however, points out that the Lebanese labor market was suffering even before the refugee crisis. The key challenges, according to the study, was the emigration of skilled university graduates to more prosperous countries. Emigration as a difficulty facing the Lebanese labor market was also cited by the HELMOL report as far back as the year 2009 (The American University of Beirut’s Alumni Relations Office & The Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development). The HELMOL report indicates that unemployment rates in 2006 were highest among those in the age group of 20-24 years, the age 1

Based on interviews conducted for this research paper with Center for Administrative Statistics, International Labor Organization, Lebanon Statistics… 1

group of fresh university graduates. The study suggests, based on interviews conducted with university students that this is also the age group with the highest emigration rates with graduates citing the low number of available jobs in Lebanon, and the types of jobs and salaries offered as not meeting their expectations. It is reasonable to believe that this holds true to this date. The IMF study also mentions low supply of job opportunities in Lebanon as another weakness in the Lebanese labor market study quoting a World Bank statistic which indicates that Lebanon created only 3,800 jobs annually in the period between 2005 and 2009 when an average of 22,000 new Lebanese entrants to the job market is expected each year until 2019. The educated and university graduates are also facing unemployment challenges in Lebanon, according to the 2012 LCPS policy paper which points out that there is a surplus of educated people wanting to enter the job market in Lebanon than there is demand, and as such the economy remains locked in a “low productivity and low wage equilibrium”. Outside of Beirut, the unemployment issues are still largely the same with a LMA conducted by Mercy Corps (2015) in the South of Lebanon also discussing the refugees’ strain of already depressed wages and employment opportunities. The same assessment found out that, based on surveys, the soft skills most employers in South Lebanon look for are professional behavior such as integrity and responsibility combined of course with company-specific technical skills; as such the study points out to the need for vocational, technical and skills education as well as apprenticeships and mentor programs. Socio economic factors which also influence the labor market, based on our field interviews and personal experience in the field, include parents tending to push their children to go for the classical majors such as Medicine, Engineering/Architecture or Law causing an oversupply of graduates in these fields while the need in Lebanon, as our field survey have indicated, are not necessarily restricted to these professions. In a similar view, and also based on our experience and interviews, the lack of consistent coordination between the private business sector on one hand and schools and universities on the other has led to inefficient orientation and a significant mismatch between the needs of the job market and the majors that students are specializing. This in turn has led to a misbalanced labor market. While mitigating the political stability and Syrian refugees’ influx is beyond the scope of this study for the time being, we believe a lot can be done, especially on the socioeconomic and lack of coordination challenges mentioned above, in order to balance between graduate supply and the labor market demand in gearing student’s choice of major from the most common three into what is more in demand in the market. This survey is an effort in the right direction.

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OBJECTIVES The USAID-USP offers full support for scholars in undergraduate majors that promote Lebanon’s democratic and economic development and that have prospects for meaningful employment. LAU has been awarded five USAID-USP grants prior to USPVII. As a result, 325 under privileged students from public schools across Lebanon have been granted a unique opportunity to receive a university education in an American modeled institution of higher education. With three cohorts of graduates, USAID –USP is seeking to assess the achievement of its goals. As such and in fulfillment of the award terms of USP VII, LAU has conducted this LMS. The main aim of the LMS is multifold. It seeks to identify majors offered by LAU that are strongly correlated with gainful employment and income generating opportunities as well as explore the demands of the Lebanese job market that can be linked to existing majors at LAU to enhance the employability prospects of its graduates and in particular the graduates of the USP program. As a result of the LMS, LAU will be better prepared to     

modify the list of majors offered to USP students by adding majors that correlate strongly with employment opportunities and deleting those that do not; promote enrollment in majors with high employment prospects in response to market demand; determine the specific soft skills students should acquire during their course of undergraduate studies based on employers’ needs in the various sectors of the Lebanese market; identify private companies with social responsibility at the core of their mission that are interested in providing internships or apprenticeships for undergraduate students or are prepared to support students financially in their undergraduate studies; and determine fields of studies where internships can be incorporated into the curriculum based on company and industry responses.

METHODOLOGY The research strategy adopted in this study was survey research. A range of survey instruments and techniques were used for data collection. These included questionnaires for alumni and employers and semi-structured interviews with employers (See Appendix B). Semi-structured interviews and whenever feasible face-to face interviews were conducted with representatives of syndicates and NGOs. Content analysis was used to analyze career opportunities advertised in both print (newspapers and magazines) and online media.

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i.

Alumni survey

An online alumni survey was administered to 7,834 graduates of LAU who completed their bachelor degree over the last five years extending from 2010 to 2015. Of the 7,834 graduates 516 responded to the survey yielding a response rate of 7%. The sample of alumni who participated in the survey represented almost all undergraduate programs offered by LAU (Figure 1). The survey aimed at determining the employment and educational status of graduates, the value and the impact of internships on employment if applicable, and the preparedness of graduates for employment reflected in the possession of specific soft skills.

F IGURE 1 P ROFILE OF PARTICIPATING ALUMNI

ii.

Employer survey

Employers representing a range of industries and economic sectors were invited to participate in an online employer survey. Contact details of employers were obtained from several of LAU’s databases including the career guidance database and the Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Business, Nursing and Architecture and Design schools’ employer databases. Chairpersons of departments and nominated faculty members in the five aforementioned schools also provided a list of employers of their interns and graduates including NGOs. Only 85 employers of the 995 invited to participate in the survey responded yielding a response rate of 9%. Figure 2 depicts the industries and economic sectors of participating companies. The survey solicited responses related to students’ internship or job apprenticeship experience and the graduates’ possession of the required soft skill set for their domain of employment. The survey collected data on employment and recruitment opportunities offered by employers and identifies areas of employment in which 4

the demand is not sufficiently met. It explores whether employers are willing to support students financially in their undergraduate studies.

F IGURE 2 P ROFILE OF EMPLOYERS ’ COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS PARTICIPATING IN THE SURVEY

iii.

Semi-structured telephone interviews with employers

To improve the reliability and validity of results obtained through the employer survey, semistructured interviews were conducted with employers (Appendix C). The combination of techniques known as triangulation permits the advantages of a certain research techniques to offset the weaknesses of another. Informed by the data obtained from LAU’s databases, a list of 15 industries and economic sectors were identified to conduct semi-structured telephone interviews. Organizations and companies in industries and sectors which require the completion of a graduate degree for employment or specialized training such as medicine and pharmacy in the health field were not considered for the employer survey or telephone interviews. To ensure representation of the 15 industries and sectors of the economy at least two companies were chosen from each. In total 40 telephone interviews were conducted. Only medium and large companies were chosen for the telephone interviews as they recruit employees with diverse educational backgrounds and expertise annually. Special attention was given to include, in the selected sample, companies with operations outside the greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon areas to develop a national view of job market needs. Interviews were conducted with the Human Resource Manager or the Managing Director of the company. The telephone interviews addressed similar themes as the employer questionnaire in addition to information on methods used for recruitment of potential employees. The nature of the interview allowed the interviewee to probe in depth into the items gaining a deeper understanding. During the telephone interviews employers occasionally expressed a 5

preference to complete the set of questions posed in writing instead of a telephone interview. They were then emailed the online employer survey. Figure 3 depicts the industries and economic sectors of companies chosen to conduct telephone interviews.

F IGURE 3 P ROFILE OF EMPLOYERS ’ COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS INTERVIEWED BY TELEPHONE

iv.

Interviews with key figures in syndicates, chambers of commerce and NGOs

Interviews were conducted with key figures in syndicates, chambers of commerce and NGOs. Interviews with the OEA and the ON were conducted by a faculty member of the respective schools at LAU. Interviews with CCIAZB, CCIATNL as well as the FCCIAL and NGOs were conducted by the project consultant and Executive Director of Institutional Research and Assessment. Questions asked in the interviews were more statistical in nature about the number of graduates per year, current and projected needs of the Lebanese labor market, average salary and average time to find a job after graduation. A list of the entities interviewed and the interviewees of each is provided in Appendix D. v.

Print and online media content analysis

The investigator sought to learn more about recent job opportunities by scanning print media (newspapers and magazines) and online media. The newspapers selected for the search were Annahar, Al-Safir, Al-Diyar, in Arabic, L’Orient le Jour in French and the Daily Star in English. Feedback from telephone interviews and results of initial search in the newspapers helped narrow the search to Annahar in Arabic as it was noticed that the same advertisement re-appeared in all newspapers. Similarly, the magazine search for job advertisements was narrowed to Lebanon Opportunities. As for online media, the search covered LinkedIn, Bayt.com, Hunting Lebanese, Facebook Career Group Lebanon, Business Services Office and Headhunter and Management 6

Plus. Both print and online media were scanned for a period of six months extending from June till December 2015 while the online media was scanned over a period of three months extending from October till December 2015.

LIMITATIONS OF METHODOLOGY Although the distribution of respondents of the alumni survey by major is similar to a large extent to that of the graduates of LAU with bachelor degrees over the five year period spanning 2010 to 2015, the sample of respondents is not significant to provide a comprehensive understanding or statistically representative analysis of the employment opportunities available to alumni at graduation, or the value and the impact of internships on employment if applicable, nor to identify the soft skill set needed for specific majors. Not only was the response rate for the employer survey low but the industries that employers were associated with were not equally represented in the sample. This could definitely bias results in favor of industries with higher presence rendering findings not significant enough to be readily generalizable. Initially the aim was to scan print and online media for a period of six months as a longer time frame for data collection would allow for a more comprehensive understanding of employment trends. Job postings on online media, however, were not retrievable for more than three months. As the aim was not to benchmark findings between print and online media, but to identify labor market demands, it was decided to use all data accessible to the researcher from the different media outlets. As little research has been done in Lebanon on the needs of the labor market and the employability of university graduates and as little statistical data is available on employability and what is available is not always reliable, interviews probing into these issues were conducted with key figures to gain some insights. The findings of the interviews, however, do not provide a comprehensive understanding of the labor market dynamics due to challenges related to the limited time available to conduct the study and the identification of respondents willing to contribute in a meaningful way to the research. Discussions were very general in nature as interviewees, particularly key figures, evaded answering the questions of concern to the researcher.

ANALYSIS OF RESULTS The study aims at gaining an understanding of employment and labor market trends in Lebanon to enhance the employability of USAID-USP students who complete their undergraduate studies at LAU in selected majors. The study is intended to shed light on professions which are in high 7

demand in Lebanon in order to modify the list of majors offered to USP students by adding majors that correlate strongly with employment opportunities and deleting those that do not. Through surveys and interviews with different stakeholders of LAU, such as alumni, employers, representatives of syndicates, chambers of commerce and NGOs, the study aims at providing insights into the effectiveness of the soft skills training the university provides, additional soft skills needs as well as students’ internship experiences and their role in facilitating employability. The findings are presented in three sections. i.

Employment statistics

Literature research showed that very little statistics, if any, are available on the Lebanese labor force and the needs of the labor market. Interviews conducted with NGOs, international organizations and research centers such as ILO, the World Bank, CAS, Lebanon Statistics and the LCPS only confirmed this finding. Many studies are in the making but they are pending a more stable political climate or external funding. Some studies were conducted in 2011 and 2012 but according to the National Program Officer of IOL, any studies done on the labor market in Lebanon before 2012 are now almost inconclusive since they don’t take into account the Syrian crisis and its impact on the labor market in Lebanon. Effects of this impact include a stronger competition on unskilled labor and also, to some extent, on skilled labor since Syrian employees make a lesser salary in Lebanon and also don’t have to be registered in the NSSF. a. Employment statistics for the public sector From the Ministry of Labor, the National Employment Office (NEO) to the Civil Services Board (CSB) to the Ministry of Finance, we were able to conclude that although statistics on the number of employees employed by the public sector could be available through the (CSB), access to them is blocked by bureaucracy and red tape procedural obstacles. b. Statistics for the professional fields –engineering and nursing CAS provided the latest statistics (2014), compiled from the syndicates, on the number of professionals registered with each of the Lebanese syndicates. Table 1 provides the number of newly registered engineers and nurses in 2014 by gender. Of the new registered engineers 241 have obtained their degrees abroad. The Head of Statistics at CAS, warned however that these figures may not fully reflect of the situation on the ground.

New Registrants in 2014

OEA ON

Male

Female

Total

2,501

792

3,293

232

963

1,195

T ABLE 1 REGISTERED ENGINEERS AND NURSES IN 2014 8

c. Employment statistics for graduates in nursing Approximately 1,000 students graduate from nursing schools in Lebanon annually and find employment within Greater Beirut within 6 months of their graduation. Outside of Greater Beirut, in the suburbs, employability becomes harder as technical schools graduates of nursing are favored over university graduates in that major due to their lower salary needs. Nursing graduates most often find employment as drug representatives for pharmaceutical companies, nutrition experts with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) especially now with the rising demand for such experts following the Syrian refugee crisis, and nurses within hospitals which, according to Ghouzail, is the least favored option among graduates. Their salaries range from $800 to $1,500 per month. d. Employment statistics for graduates in engineering Approximately 3,000 students graduate from engineering schools in Lebanon every year. While many engineering graduates find employment within Greater Beirut within 6 months a sizable proportion work overseas mainly in the MENA region. Their salaries range from $1500 to $2,000 per month within Lebanon.

ii.

Labor force participation of LAU alumni

Overall, 62% of alumni who participated in the survey are employed while 23% have never been employed. Although these percentages did not differ considerably based on gender, they did differ based on year of graduation and geography. 56% of the employed and 50% of those who have never been employed are females indicating equal employment opportunities for both males and females. Between 66-76% of graduates of the academic years 2010-2011 to 2013-2014 are employed while 4-19% are unemployed. These percentages differ considerably for the graduates of the past academic year 2014-2015 where only 47% reported being employed while 13% are currently unemployed but have been employed at least once since graduation from LAU and 39% have never been employed yielding a current unemployment rate of 52% six months after graduation. This discrepancy in graduation rates across years is well explained by the time from graduation which does not exceed six months for the alumni of 2014-2015, while at a minimum, it is 18 months for graduates of 2013-2014 and 54 months for graduates of 2010-2011. Figure 4 illustrates the distribution of the sample of alumni by year of graduation between those who are employed, unemployed but have been employed at least once since graduation from LAU and those who have never been employed. Geographically 67% of employed alumni worked in the Beirut and Mount Lebanon region, 10% worked in regions across the country while 23% worked abroad.

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F IGURE 4 ALUMNI BY YEAR OF GRADUATION

iii.

Majors correlated with employment

More than a third of the alumni who graduated over the past five years and reported being employed, or currently unemployed but had been employed at least once since graduation, majored in Business, while 18% in Engineering (Computer, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Industrial), 5% in Communication Arts and Political Science & International Affairs while 4% majored in Architecture, Interior Architecture, Interior Design, Pharmacy and Nursing. For the same cohort of alumni who graduated in the past academic year 2014-2015 similar employment patterns emerged. A third of the cohort majored in Business, 16% in Engineering, 5% in Computer Science and Communication Arts, 4% in Graphic Design, Interior Architecture, Interior Design, Nursing and Psychology. Figure 5 displays the distribution of employed alumni and those who have been employed at least once since graduation by major field of study. The findings show that the relevance of majors to labor market needs and employability has remained consistent over the past five years.

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F IGURE 5 M AJORS OF EMPLOYED ALUMNI

Of the alumni who reported being employed, approximately 70% were employed in fields related to their major. They majored primarily in Business, Engineering, Computer Science, Communication Arts, Political Science & International Affairs, Psychology, Graphic Design, Architecture, Interior Architecture, Interior Design, Pharmacy and Nursing. The remaining 30% of alumni who reported working in fields not related to their major field of study were employed in fields that required an academic background in Business, Marketing, Accounting, Management, Banking and Finance, and Journalism.

iv.

Recruitment patterns

a. Recruitment patterns through the eyes of employers Annual recruitment patterns of employers were studied to determine their demands for certain majors. Survey findings show that majors in highest demand by employers based on number of recruits are Accounting (122), Computer Science (90), Computer Engineering (87), Marketing 11

(76), Electrical Engineering (73), Education (71) and Management (59), while the majors in least demand are Petroleum Engineering, Family & Entrepreneurial Business, Philosophy and Political Science & International Affairs (4). Majors where demand is moderate include Mathematics (39), Nursing (36), Information Technology and Translation (35), Arabic, Biology and Chemistry (31), Journalism (26), Industrial Engineering (25), Economics and Fine Arts (24), Nutrition (23), Architecture (21) and Social Work (19). Figure 6 depicts the recruitment patterns of employers based on major.

F IGURE 6 RECRUITMENT PATTERNS BY MAJOR

b. Recruitment patterns through the eyes of representatives of chamber of commerce Data provided by the CCIAZB are very similar to those obtained through the employer survey as portrayed in Figure 6. Sectors that are recruiting university graduates include tourism, telecommunications, construction, energy including renewable energy, industry including light and heavy manufacturing, services and agriculture. These findings are reinforced by President of the CCIAYNL, who believes that the most needed professions will always be accounting, banking and finance, marketing and information technology as any startup will need these. He also believes that in the near future, careers in alternative energy will be the most needed in Lebanon and even globally.

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c. Recruitment patterns through print and online media Print and online media sources were used to study employer recruitment patterns. All in all, 371 job postings were recorded. Approximately two thirds (258) of these job postings required applicants to be holders of bachelor degrees and have no more than 5 years of experience, while a quarter of these (59) required they have 0-1 year of experience. Job postings were equally divided between print media and online media. Figure 7 summarizes the distribution of job postings by years of experience required.

F IGURE 7 DISTRIBUTION OF JOB POSTINGS IN PRINT AND ONLINE MEDIA

The fields of study for the job postings were recorded. When a job posting allowed applicants from a range of majors to apply, each major received an individual count. Figure 8 gives the number of job postings for each major for postings that have a requirement of 0-1 year of experience and those that have a requirement of 1-5 years of experience. For the 199 job postings which require 1-5 years of experience, 450 applicants from different academic backgrounds were offered a chance of employment. The academic majors in highest demand were Management (94), Accounting (83), Marketing (69), Computer Science (48), Banking and Finance (42), Computer Engineering (36), English (12), Architecture (9) and Economics (6). For the 59 job postings which require 0-1 year of experience, 85 applicants from different academic majors were offered a chance of employment. While there are opportunities of employment for fresh graduates through print and online media, interview findings suggest that recruitment often occurs through a variety of other channels such as career fairs, university career guidance offices and family and friend networks. 13

The shaded blue area in Figure 8 shows that the same majors in general were in highest demand. A detailed breakdown of the data can be found in Appendix A.

F IGURE 8 M AJORS IN HIGH DEMAND BASED ON POSTINGS IN PRINT AND ONLINE MEDIA

d. Recruitment patterns reflected through market demand Difficulty in recruitment was considered a means to identify areas of employment in which market demand is not sufficiently met. In the education industry, findings suggest that market demand is not readily met when the goal is to recruit mathematics, physics, English and STEM school teachers. The opposite is true when the goal is to recruit Arabic, biology and chemistry instructors. The recruitment of developers/ programmers / IT officers is challenging in the banking and finance sector as well as the information technology / telecom sector, while that is not the case in most other sectors that recruit developers/ programmers / IT officers. A similar challenge is faced when recruiting accountants for the accounting sector while recruiting accountants for all other economic sectors is simpler. No notable differences in recruitment efforts are experienced for most industries when recruiting marketing officers and administrative officers. The findings thus suggest that employability is more challenging when the employee’s educational background is aligned with organizational expertise as greater emphasis is placed on the possession of a solid theoretical and technical background. Market demand (met /not met) and recruitment effort (difficult / easy) thus seem to be industry dependent and that the need is for graduates with diverse educational backgrounds, solid theoretical and technical field related knowledge and excellent soft skill sets. 14

v.

Impact of internships on employment

Annually, 85% of employers accept interns from the various Lebanese universities. Figure 9 presents the main industries or economic sectors which offer internship or job apprenticeship opportunities to undergraduate students and LAU’s share of these opportunities. Three quarters (394 of 516) of alumni reported completing an internship before graduating, approximately a third of whom were offered a job upon graduation which demonstrates the importance of engaging students in higher order learning practices as these practices enhance student learning and development and improve their prospects of employment.

F IGURE 9 DISTRIBUTION OF INTERNSHIPS BY INDUSTRY AND ECONOMIC SECTOR

vi.

Employees soft skill sets

The vast majority of alumni perceived themselves as possessing the necessary soft skills needed to succeed in their employment. These skills portrayed in Figure 10 include commitment to lifelong learning, adhering to ethical standards, possessing excellent communication, computer and technical skills as well as having a solid theoretical background. Their perceptions coincided with the views of employers who believed LAU employees exhibited self-initiative, were capable of multi-tasking, and possessed good conflict resolution skills. Employers’ views on the specific soft skills LAU graduates possess are summarized in Figure 11. While employers acknowledged that LAU graduates possess many strengths they also alluded to traits and qualities essential for success in the work place. Key are qualities such as motivation, determination, creativity, proactivity, and modesty. As one employer stated, ‘students have the knowledge but they need grooming to become productive’. ‘A trait most employees lack is patience’ claimed an interviewee. 15

‘Employees seek managerial positions at the onset of employment without realizing that persistence, determination, building on successes, learning from failure and the pursuit of continuous improvement are key to progression in employment and that progression takes place gradually’.

F IGURE 10 ALUMNI PERCEIVED SOFT SKILLS SET NEEDED FOR SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYMENT

F IGURE 11 E MPLOYER’S PERCEIVED SOFT SKILL SET FOR SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYMENT

16

vii.

Employer sponsorship of undergraduates

Many companies and organizations currently sponsor employees pursuing a master’s degree. When asked if they would be ready to sponsor undergraduate students, some companies expressed their readiness to do so while others thought it was an issue worthy of in depth study within their organizations. Table 2 provides a list of companies willing to sponsor undergraduate students and the contribution they are willing to make towards that end.

Company Al Sultan Food Stuff Co Capital Banking Solutions element^n EMCO ENGINERING LTD M.O. Gandour & Sons S.A.L The International School of Choueifat

Contribution 26%-50% 26%-50% 1%-25% 1%-25% 1%-25% 1%-25%

T ABLE 2 SPONSORING C OMPANIES

CONCLUSION The study allowed the identification of a number of trends to inform choice of major with strong prospects of employability based on labor market demands in Lebanon. Due to the limited number of respondents in surveys and the resistance of key figures to address questions of concern directly, the findings are not statistically representative and should be considered qualitative indications. With the little research done on employability in Lebanon and the scarcity of employment statistics, the qualitative indications provide insights for formulating recommendations. Approximately 80% of LAU students are employed 18 months after graduation. The employment rate dropped to 50% six months after graduation with an additional 13% being employed at least once since graduation. There was no difference in employment opportunities based on gender. Most employment opportunities were limited to the greater Beirut region and Mount Lebanon. Regions outside Beirut and Mount Lebanon provide employment opportunities to only 10% of LAU’s graduates while around 25% of graduates from LAU are employed overseas. More than 80% of LAU alumni were employed in fields related to their major. Those who reported being employed majored primarily in Business, Engineering, Computer Science, Communication Arts, Political Science & International Affairs, Psychology, Graphic Design, Architecture, Interior Architecture, Interior Design, Pharmacy and Nursing. The remaining 20% of alumni reported working in fields not related to their major. They were mainly working in fields that required an 17

academic background in Business, Marketing, Accounting, Management, Banking and Finance, and Journalism. Based on job postings in print and online media and on employers’ and key figure feedback, the employment opportunities were more favorable for graduates majoring in Accounting, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Marketing, Electrical Engineering, Management and Graphic Design, while employment opportunities for graduates majoring in Translation, Arabic, Biology, Chemistry, Industrial Engineering, Mathematics, Nursing, Information Technology, Journalism, Economics, Fine Arts, Nutrition, Architecture and Social were found to be moderately favorable. In the view of key informant’s, market demand for some majors increased as a result of the Syrian crisis, particularly those related to health such as nursing and nutrition. From the above, one can deduce that almost all the majors currently offered to USP students’ link positively to employment. Actual employment data supports this claim, as over 85% of USP graduates are currently employed. Moreover, the employment rate for both the USP I and USP II scholars six months after graduation is around 82%, which is higher than the institutional employment rate for the same cohort. Table 3 below provides a list of all majors and concentrations offered at LAU and those offered to USP I, II, III, V, VI and VII scholars across fall 2011 through to fall 2015. Majors that are not offered to USP students but appear to correlate strongly with employability through all the investigative techniques implemented – alumni survey, employer survey, semistructure interviews with key figures and job postings - include Business-Management Information Systems, Business-Marketing, and Architecture. Similar favorable yet slightly weaker employability correlations where found for majors in design such as Interior Architecture and Interior Design. In fall 2015, the Communication Arts Department transformed its three major emphases into three degree programs, two of which, namely Multimedia Journalism and Television and Film showed positive prospects of employability based on the results of the alumni and employer surveys as well as print and online media for the former degree program. Employers indicated a need for graduates in Performing Arts which is the third emphasis of Communications Arts. No distinction between the concentrations Digital Design and Print Design for the major Graphic Design was made through all investigative techniques employed in the study and therefore it is recommended to allow enrollment in both concentrations based on the significantly favorable correlation between the major and employment. Psychology is yet another major that shows acceptable employability potential as indicated by alumni and employers. While Petroleum Engineering is a new major offered by LAU with no alumni, employers and key figures in chambers of commerce emphasized active recruitment in the energy and renewable energy sectors. Table 3 provides a list of proposed major and concentrations to be offered to USP scholars as of fall 2016. It also signals out the major Chemistry that should be deleted from the list of offerings for its significantly weak employability potential as reflected in alumni responses. Engaging students in higher order learning practices such as internships enhances student learning and employment preparedness. The findings confirm this statement. Approximately a third of LAU 18

students who completed an internship during their course of study were offered a job in the same company. The possession of specific soft skills enhance prospects of employability. This finding is confirmed by the results of surveys and interviews conducted. The soft skills needed include commitment to lifelong learning, adhering to ethical standards, possessing excellent communication, computer and technical skills, having a solid theoretical background, exhibiting self-initiative, motivation, creativity, and modesty, being capable of multi-tasking as well as possessing good conflict resolution skills. Many of these skills are associated with good leadership but perhaps what was pronounced in the interview findings is that leadership should be exercised regardless of position, grade or job title.

All majors offered at LAU

Major

Concentration

Architecture

Biology

AS 2014Majors 2015 Proposed majors offered to USP vs for USP scholars scholars 20102016-2017 2011-2015 2015 graduate s Will not be offered to USP students as duration of the 2-4% program is 5 years (176 credits) Will not be offered to USP 0-2%  students

ES / EI

21

X

31

JP 0-1 yrs. vs 0-5 yrs. experience

2-9

0-1

Accounting





122

X

13-83

Banking & Finance





57

X

8-42

4

-

-

35

X

4-19

Family & Entrepren. Bus. Mgt. Business

IKF

39-36% Information Technology Mgt.



International Business





16

Management





65

19

X

10-94



Marketing

Chemistry



Will not be offered due to low employability

Civil Engineering



Computer Engineering

76

X

2-69

0-0.25%

31



5-5%

17

X

0-15





1-3%

87

X

11-36

Computer Science





5-3%

90

X

12-48

Economics





3-3%

24

2-6



 3-3%

71

0-4

Early Childhood Education Education

Elementary Education

-





Electrical Engineering





1-2%

73

English





1-1%

47

1-12

N/A

-

-

2-1%

24

-

4-3%

52

2-10

-

10

-

Will not be offered to USP students Will not be offered to USP students

Fashion Design Fine Arts Digital Design



X

2-15



Graphic Design 

Print Design

Will not be offered to USP students

History Hosp. & Tourism Management





1-1%

59

X

0-2

Industrial Engineering





1-2%

25

X

-

4-4%

10

X

-

Interior Architecture

Will not be offered to USP 20

students as there is a 63% risk of inability to complete the degree in 4 years.

Interior Design



4-4|%

10

Multimedia Journalism



5-5%

26

X

1-4 1-15

Mathematics





-

39

X

-

Mechanical Engineering





8-6%

-

X

1-10

N/A

17

X

-

4-4%

36

X

1-3

Will be offered without the internship as the internship is not covered by USAID 

3-2%

23

X

1-2



-

17

N/A

7

2-4%

25

-

N/A

4

-

1-5%

4

-

1-5%

4

-

Will not be offered to USP students

Mechatronics Engineering Nursing

Nutrition







Performing Arts

Will not be offered to USP students as the program is new with no graduates to date. Will not be offered to USP students

Petroleum Engineering

Pharmacy Philosophy Political Science Political Science/Int. Affairs





21

-

X

-



4-2%

17

-

1-1%

19

-



5-5%

12

0-3

Will not be offered to USP students as the program is new with no graduates to date. Program duration is 3 years.

N/A

35

2-3

Psychology Social Work





Television and Film

Translation



AS = Alumni Survey, ES/EI = Employer Survey and Interviews with Employers IKF = Interviews with Key figures in syndicates, chambers of commerce and NGOs JP = Job Postings Majors and concentrations currently offered to USP scholars Majors and concentrations recommended for continuous offering  N/A

Majors and concentrations proposed to be added to currently offered ones There are no LAU graduates for the majors and concentrations T ABLE 3 M AJORS OFFERED TO USP STUDENTS

A note regarding three Communication Arts majors: Multimedia Journalism / Television and Film / Performing Arts These majors used to be under one program: B.A. in Communication Arts with three concentrations: Journalism, Radio/TV/Film and Theater. Effective Fall 2015, the School of Arts and Sciences did an internal academic restructuring and the three majors became: 22

1. B.A. in Multimedia Journalism 2. B.A. in Television and Film 3. B.A. in Performing Arts All under the Department of Communication Arts. They are NOT totally new majors.

WORK PLAN TO INFORM APPLICANTS OF ANY CHANGES Based on the above recommendations regarding adding, removing or keeping majors for the USP VII, we propose the following plan to inform applicants of the changes: 1. We will inform USAID about the changes around mid-March and wait to receive USAID’s approval 2. We will announce these changes to students and Schools that we will be visiting between mid-March and April 8, 2016 (After securing USAID’s approval) 3. We will communicate with High Schools already visited and inform them of the changes and ask them to pass the message to their students. This should be completed by April 8, 2016. 4. We will update the LAU-USP website by adding pop-up or updated messages reflecting the changes. This task is to be completed one week after securing USAID’s approval. 5. We will call students who applied to Majors which will no longer be offered and ask them to consider another Major. This task is to be completed by April 8, 2016.

23

Bibliography Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (2014). Labour Market Assessment in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. Beirut: the authors. http://www.acted.org/en/lebanon The American University of Beirut’s Alumni Relations Office & The Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development. (2009). Higher Education & Labor Market Outcomes in Lebanon. Beirut: the authors. Calì, M., Harake, W., Hassan, F., & Struck, C. (2015). The Impact of the Syrian conflict on Lebanese trade. Washington, D.C.: World Bank. CAS. (2014). Professional Activities 2014. Beirut: CAS. Jarmuzek, M., Mesa Puyo, D., & Nakhle, N. (2014). Designing a Fiscal Framework for a Prospective Commodity Producer: Options for Lebanon. Washington, D.C.: IMF. Kawar, M., & Tzannatos, Z. (2013). Youth employment in Lebanon: Skilled and jobless. Policy Paper series. Beirut: Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. http://www.lcpslebanon.org/publications/1368538726-youth_enemployment.pdf Mercy Corps. (2015). Labour Market Assessment: South Lebanon. Brussels: European Union. World Bank (2014). Country Overview. http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/lebanon/overview World Bank (2014). Downside Risks Materialize. Lebanon Economic Monitor series, Fall 2014. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group. http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/lebanon/publication/lebanon-economic-monitor-fall-2014 World Bank. 2010. Lebanon - Country partnership strategy for the period FY11-FY14. Washington, DC: World Bank. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2010/07/12618064/lebanon-country-partnershipstrategy-period-fy11-fy14

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