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French Version

Tech-Nation?

Int@j, the Information Technology association of Jordan, has recently released a very interesting 'white paper' of facts and figures on Jordan's technology workers.

Int@j, the Information Technology association of Jordan, has recently released a very interesting 'white paper' of facts and figures on Jordan's technology workers; compiled from data provided by the www.it.jo website it launched over a year ago.

The site invited Jordanian techies to upload their CVs and fill out information forms. The results have been impressive, although the actual number is not a complete representation of every Jordanian tech-worker.

Still, there are plenty of indicators to draw from the data.

The total number registered at www.it.jo is 3508, 86 percent males and 14 percent females. Of the registrants, 85 percent hold a university degree, while 14 percent hold a post-graduate degree, leaving only 1 percent who have not finished university.

Apparently, academic specialization is high among Jordanian tech-workers with 42.94 percent holding a degree in Computer Science and 15.32 percent holding degrees in Electronic/Computer Engineering. Thus, according to the report, "providing a wide base of future professionals."

As for technical/professional certification, 750 of the registrants have one or more certifications. The majority coming from Microsoft (42.52 percent) and Oracle (41.34 percent).

One strange statement made by the report refers to a 'gap' between what Jordan actually needs in terms of skills and what is available. The report says "although Jordan offers a wide pool of educated and experienced human resources, a gap between such and the needs of the private sector remains in existence ... this gap lies mostly in skills that are acquired through practical experience and the need for further development to ensure availability of human resources suiting the needs of the private sector."

With 88.85 percent of that workforce residing in Jordan, we've got one of the highest percentages of resident IT workers in the developing world! Considering many IT specialists complain there is a lack of jobs, you've got quite a paradox on your hands.

The answer could lie in this need to re-train graduates to fill actual tech openings. A process that could be helped along if companies hired new graduates and trained them in-house to fill specialized positions. Down the road they would reach the necessary level of specialization which would narrow the gap.

However, the 9 percent of Jordanian IT workers abroad are undoubtedly our best-skilled-perhaps the root of the problem. Still, these people are part of our government's proposed 'economic solution' which involves exporting our workforce to relieve employment pressures locally and bring hard currency in. As such, these tech workers are not part of the problem, but part of the solution!

It's an obvious case of 'unofficial' Arab economic integration. It's interesting that Gulf States also say that they have an IT skill shortage, when they've got the best of the lot. Simply, business is so good that they need more!

I wouldn't worry about this so-called 'brain-drain'. After all, if there were satisfactory tech jobs in Jordan, nobody would leave; and with comprehensive retraining programs for professionals still residing in Jordan, the effects of this 'drain' might not be felt anymore.

To see this report on Jordan's information technology workforce, go to www.intaj.net.


Amman,11December2001
Zeid Nasser
The Star


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