Rabat – The research group BMI has forecasted high unemployment throughout the next decade due to an expanding workforce, unmet demand for technical positions, and decline in traditional high employment sectors.
In a recent research report, BMI cites the current unemployment rate in Morocco at 10.5 percent. However, with an estimated 245,000 working-age people set to join the workforce in 2017-2018, Morocco would need to create 115,000 additional jobs each year and maintain all current employment opportunities, to remain steady at the current workforce participation rate of 47 percent.
The long-term BMI report overshadows BMI’s previous report, which forecasted positive growth and a consistent and strong economy for the remainder of the year.
To explain the high unemployment, the research group points to several key factors.
First, BMI forecasts declining employment in the agriculture and public sectors, as job creation in the sectors becomes “increasingly unreliable,” compared to the industrial sector.
In agriculture, the unreliability is based on unpredictable weather patterns and corresponding water scarcity and crop yields, which the government has struggled to address through measures like the Green Morocco Plan.
Meanwhile, the research group also predicts that employment will fall in the public sector, which composes 40 percent of the country’s formal employment. BMI forecasts the decline will result from restricted government hiring linked to attempts to decrease the government debt.
The second cause of unemployment is the poorly-performing national education system. According to BMI, “Only 71.7% of the population can read and write, while just 64.4% of the working-age population has completed secondary education or above,” adding “only Yemen fares worse regionally on these metrics.”
Furthermore, Moroccan higher education lacks the technical focus essential to the country’s growth model based on the manufacturing sector. Morocco represents the region’s lowest numbers for engineering graduates, with only 4.7 percent of total national graduates receiving their degree in engineering, manufacturing, and construction in 2016. Comparatively, nearly one third of graduates studied business, administration, and law.
A shortage in the trained technical workforce represents a drain in the national potential that requires the outsourcing of trained professionals, and a consolidation of higher salaries among a smaller number of qualified job candidates, which discourages international investment.
The International Monetary Fund describes the loss of employment opportunities caused by the high number of Morocco’s unemployed graduates as below national potential for five years, a “chronic underutilisation of available resources.”