By Roza Mohammed

Many countries in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region are going through a transformation in their employment/recruitment and selection practices within the public sector, this has led to reforms in the public sector. In the past decade, the MENA region has survived many socioeconomic and political crises, and due to this, these countries have lagged in coping with contemporary approaches to administer their public-sector employment. The outdated systems in place can no longer cope with the current bloated public service employment system.
Introducing these changes within the employment/recruitment and selection within the MENA region places a threat towards both the governmental and societal institutions. Specifically threatened, are the cultural attachments that are assigned to new graduates that seek to secure a job in the public sector. Currently, most MENA countries cannot afford mass-employment of their citizens, coupled with the aging population within the current workforce has now become a burden to support. To then improve public sector employment and to boost public sector performance, reforms within the employment/recruitment and selection process has been put in place. The reforms lay out the criteria for restructuring the new system, which employs on a basis of merit, required skill, capacity, budget and empowering the private sector as an alternative employment tool for anyone seeking employment. This paper aims to give an overview on the existing reforms in public sector employment in the MENA region, the possible challenges and obstacles, while providing some recommendations on the process of adaptation. Specifically, this paper should provide MENA government officials and policy makers with sufficient information for consideration whilst they introduce and implement the reforms within their public employment/recruitment and selection practices.

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