The Role of Education in Preparing Graduates for the Labor Market in the GCC Countries

by Lynn A. Karoly

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

In the 21st century knowledge economy, education plays an increasingly important role in preparing new labor market entrants for the workforce and providing skill upgrading throughout the working career. The vital role of education is propelled by the rapid pace of technological change, as well as the interdependent, global economy, forces that together demand a workforce with the capacity for leadership, problem solving, and collaboration and communication in a wide range of economic sectors. Within this context, the education and workforce development systems are critical for supporting human capital development throughout the life course. This paper reviews these broader trends regarding the role of education in the labor market and then considers the implications for education in the countries of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Where data are available, the paper examines patterns of educational attainment overall in these countries, evidence of the quality of the education systems and the graduates they produce, and the labor market benefits of higher educational attainment. It also assesses gender differences, where possible, in each of these indicators of interest. The paper concludes by enumerating several key challenges facing the Gulf countries in promoting strong education systems and well functioning labor markets to meet the labor force needs in the private and public sectors in the 21st century global economy.

This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.