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Young People’s Job Aspirations in Egypt and the Continued Preference for a Government Job

Ghada Barsoum ()

No 838, Working Papers from Economic Research Forum

Abstract: Despite the slowing of government hiring in Egypt, the government remains the employer of choice for new entrants to the labor market, particularly young women. Using the ELMPS 2012 survey data, the motivation of the analysis in this paper is twofold. First, the paper provides supporting evidence to the continued valorization of a government job among youth by looking at the job search behavior among unemployed educated youth (aged 15-29) and their reported minimum acceptable wage by employment sector. Second, the paper looks at reported levels of job satisfaction and the different job characteristics among employed youth, comparing those working in the government to those in the private sector. The data included in this paper shows that the majority of jobs those new entrants to the labor market find in the private sector provide limited access to work contracts and social insurance schemes. The paper argues that work informality within Egypt’s private sector remains a major factor for the continued preference for a government/public sector job. When employed youth report on their level of job satisfaction by different work characteristics, dissatisfaction about access to social security is key. The paper concludes with a discussion of policy options in relation to young people’s continued preference for a government job.

Date: 2014-06, Revised 2014-06
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