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The MENA region is considered as the most youthful region in term of population, which is a great sign. However, the bad news is, the International Labor Organization (ILO) expect more than 30% of the youth to be unemployed in the coming two years!

Looking back at the positive side, there is a way out, we still can be very positive.

How can we avoid that? The right career selection process, and this is not limited to students at school, but even to people around their retirement age!

The following three-steps model (DOA) can provide a very simple way for you to consider your career options, try it out.

Step 1 – Desire:

Throughout my sessions in the past decade, I have noticed that the most difficult question for the participants to answer is talking about themselves. According to a study that was conducted in Bahrain, more than 70% of the youth (15-24) do not know their hobbies, basically because they have not tried many things. Those who say that they like reading do not read much, those who say they like writing do not write much, those who say they like horse riding possibly have never tried it, and so on. So to make sure that you know your desire you might consider the following:

  • Participate in youth activities
  • Do some volunteer work
  • Try some part time jobs – Summer Jobs
  • Do some personality tests (will talk further about this sometime)

Once you are done, you have to make a list of 10 jobs at least that you like.

Tip: Think about skills and related them to job, do not think about job titles directly


Step 2 – Opportunities:

The next step is to look at the economy and the market, and see where the opportunities lay. Most of the times I speak to youth in our region, they generally claim that their biggest challenge is the information. I do honestly agree that we do lack many statistical information, however, we do have some good sources, some examples from Bahrain are below:

In addition to the above, you may try to contact some HR departments in the fields that you would like to work at, you may try to attend sessions with the Ministry of Labor in your hometown. Higher education entities generally do provide relevant reports in this area as well, not to forget the Civil Service Bureaus that are tasked with overseeing the government HR structures and recruitment.

Once you find the information relevant to the jobs you have in your list, start deleting some options that lack growth opportunities, or does not provide suitable income streams.


Step 3 – Abilities:

The final step is to cross check the remaining career paths with your abilities.

  • Financial Abilities: can you afford studying it (if it needs a degree, professional certifications or short courses)? Does it have a good income stream?
  • Physical Abilities: Does the job require certain physical abilities? Do you possess these abilities?
  • Cultural Abilities: Does your society/family have some constraints or views about certain jobs/sectors?
  • Mental Abilities: Does the job require certain mental abilities? Math? Physics? Arts? Do you have the needed abilities?

Now look again at your list, and delete the jobs that do not fit.

The key to success in this life is knowing where are we heading and how we are planning to reach there. Opportunities do not happen, we create them.

Ahmed H. Janahi

Ahmed Janahi is a leading figure in the training and consultancy sector for lending a voice in the fast emerging management training industry. As a consultant and lecturer, he has advised educational programs and both public and private sectors and is currently a Manager at Tamkeen.

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