Jordan has one of the youngest populations in the world, with 63% of its population under the age of 30. As this large population of youth grows older and begins to enter the workforce, the demographic transition presents a unique opportunity for Jordan but it is not without its challenges.
To realize the benefits of a larger-than-normal number of working-age adults, it is imperative that young people are supported as they transition into adulthood - and equipped with the necessary skills and mindset to lead the economy and society. Youth in Jordan are often educated and connected to the global community. However, the great potential they see in the world and in themselves is often at odds with the political and economic realities they face as they enter their adult years.
In Jordan, 100,000 young people start looking for work every year. Thirty-two per cent of youth aged 15-30 years are unemployed. The situation for girls is even more challenging, as Jordan has the third lowest female labour force participation rate in the world.
There is a mismatch between the skill needed by the private sector and the skills of youth. Access to opportunities for Syrian refugee youth living in Jordan is more challenging. Eighty-four per cent of Syrian refugee youth are unemployed and are at increased risk of harmful or exploitative labour. Specific challenges facing girls include increased limited mobility and forced or early marriage.
Another vulnerable group is youth with disabilities: 6% of youth aged 10-24 have at least one disability (Department of Statistics and ICF International, 2013), and face difficulties in accessing services and programmes.