Researching the Quality of Employment in the Middle East

in collaboration with the University of Sharjah and the American University of Cairo

LSE PI: Professor Kirsten Sehnbruch
Co-PI: Dr M. Azhar Hussain, UOS and Dr Samer Atallah, AUC
Duration: August 2021 - July 2023

 A construction worker at a new market work site in Tunisia.
photo_cameraNew market work site in Tunisia (2016). Photo: Marcel Crozet / ILO (Flickr)

Ten years after the protests of the Arab Spring, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and crisis may exacerbate problems of social cohesion in the MENA region, especially if employment opportunities are more limited because of the crisis. However, wellbeing and economic sustainability depend not only on the quantity but also on the quality of available jobs.

In the MENA region, countries with very diverse levels of development will require different sets of policies. However, they all share a common problem in that they often lack suitable data sources and indicators for dealing with the combined objective of achieving both full employment and generating good quality jobs. For example, our recent study of Egypt, shows that high economic growth rates generated a significant increase in the quantity of jobs. However, due to labour reforms that had deregulated the labour market in prior years, the quality of employment deteriorated significantly over the same period.

This project seeks to identify potential informational gaps in the UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia and to develop a multidimensional index of the quality of employment to examine how the quality of employment has developed in the MENA region in recent years and to illustrate how policymakers can target resources and policies to the most vulnerable workers. By building on existing studies from Latin America, Europe and the Egypt, the project aims to focus attention on the issue of job quality and prepare for future labour market developments and corresponding skill requirements.

This project forms part of the Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme, funded by the Emirates Foundation. 

Research Team

Kirsten Sehnbruch

Kirsten Sehnbruch | Global Professor and Distinguished Policy Fellow

Kirsten is British Academy Global Professor and Distinguished Policy Fellow, International Inequalities Institute, LSE.

Samer Atallah

Samer Atallah | Associate Dean for Graduate Studies

Samer is Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research and an Associate Professor of economics at the School of Business, AUC.

M. Azhar Hussian

M. Azhar Hussian | Associate Professor

Azhar is Associate Professor, Department of Finance and Economics, University of Sharjah.

Marian Abdel Nour

Marian Abdel Nour | Research Assistant

Marian is a PhD student at the Paris School of Economics and the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne.

Mona Elsayed

Mona Elsayed | Consultant

Mona is Assistant Lecturer and a PhD student at the Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University.

Rocío Méndez Pineda

Rocío Méndez Pineda | Research Assistant

Rocío is Research Assistant at LSE Middle East Centre and a PhD student at the IoE’s Social Research Institute at UCL. Her research at LSE focuses on inequalities, labour markets and social mobility, with applications to the Middle East, Latin America and Europe.