Jordanian business leaders: new skills for tourism needed
On June 18, we talked to three people from Jordan's business community to better understand the training and skills challenges prompted the pandemic and lockdown.
A senior regional representative of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; a member of a leading tourism association; and the HR manager for a large Amman shopping mall, share their experiences of how the pandemic is shaping Jordan's labour market for the future.
Rami Samain, a Regional Economic Inclusion Policy Specialist with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, praises the Jordanian government for taking "exceptional measures" for the tourism sector: "I believe they will put Jordan back on the map so far as tourism is concerned," he says.
"For me, work tremendously picked up and in particular for the support we are giving the tourism sector in Jordan, which is the most severely affected part of the economy. We have introduced payment deferrals and other measures, including a package to help with workplace and employee management during and after the crisis."
Karim Mubarak, an expert on skills and human resources, and member of the Sector Skills Council Board, and also of the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association, acknowledges the learning curve the pandemic presents to an industry that employs thousands of lower skilled, but essential, workers.
"It is now all about trust. Can I trust you to come to your country? You need to show me that you understand what it takes to receive me and how you are going to take care of me… and if something happens that I am taken good care of and am going to go home safe and sound in a timely manner."
Suhair Al Barghouthi, HR Manager at Abdali Mall Company, one of the largest shopping malls in Amman, says the retail sector has also been forced to re-examine business basics because of the pandemic. Lockdown forced the closure of all but essential food shops during the crisis, and as the country emerges from that period, the demands on HR are growing, she notes. Looking to the future, she believes that adaptability will be a key value for both businesses and employees.
"We also need to be resilient, able to bounce back. And we shall need more emotional intelligence and empathy and compassion for people along with better technical skills - digital literacy will be important for whatever job you are doing."
Watch the interviews on the ETF's Facebook page.