Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

TECHNOLOGICAL IMPACT on CAREERS, EDUCATION and CULTURE in the ARAB WORLD

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

TECHNOLOGICAL IMPACT on CAREERS, EDUCATION and CULTURE in the ARAB WORLD

Article excerpt

Recent global events and political instability have returned the focus back on the highly controversial region of the world, the Middle East. The Arab world with its dynamic natural resources and rich culture is a center of attention due to overwhelming economic and professional stagnation in recent decades. This article explores the different career development and economic environments within the region, and the use of technology on careers, education and the social empowerment of women. Career development is a growing trend in the Arab world as political change takes place and populations seek a brighter future within a growing "knowledge-based society". Using technology effectively within the Arab world under these circumstances is essential for economic growth, as well as career and professional development.

The discovery of oil in the Gulf countries during the 1970s greatly influenced the view of Arab workers on migration, employment, and career and economic development. Intra-regional migration was a direct result of the oil boom due to growing consumer economies (Haque & Luqman, 2010). While migration to Gulf countries was huge during the oil boom and decades after, such a move can be an unstable investment for most migrant workers. Fluctuating oil prices of the 21SI century, as well as fear of unrest from political entities in the Gulf region, have sent many of these migrant employees back to their home countries (Haque, et al., 2010). Various technological advances and educational opportunities in Europe and the U.S. have influenced migration trends as well, with a growing number of Arab nationals studying and seeking employment and career opportunities in consumer countries not solely dependent on oil wealth to drive their economies. In addition to varying migration trends, an increasing number of Arab governments have been investing heavily in education, promising more employment and career opportunities within home countries. This trend speaks to a growing highly educated young Arab population, restless about the need to seek employment away from home. Arab nationals are being educated by their governments, in their home countries, only to struggle with employment once they've received their degrees. While migrating in search of economic development for both menial and professional opportunities has been the norm for decades, expectations among the emerging generation of educated and politically conscious youth have rapidly changed. The internet has completely revolutionized not only how people socialize but also how they view the world; the Middle East is no exception. While previous generations may generally have accepted their limited boundaries on how they were supposed to shape their lives in terms of social/cultural standards and economic expectations, the advent of the internet has revamped this way of thinking. The emerging generation of leaders within the Middle East does not want to work toward a degree only to spend years seeking employment after graduation. When the opportunity of work finally does arrive, it is usually in a neighboring country or within the home country in a job that offers little more than a small salary. Furthermore, neglecting the impact of the internet on career development and cultural change in the Arab world would ignore current reality. The internet first found its way into the Arab world in Tunis in 1991 , and began to spread throughout the Middle East with Saudi Arabia being the last country to open up its telecommunications to the internet in 1998 (Wheeler, 2004). While Saudi Arabia was the last country to get connected, it developed internet connections quicker than any other country in the region (Wheeler, 2004).

While it may be easy to classify the Arab world into a single cluster, in reality it's much more complicated. The Arab world is diverse with 22 members of the Arab league, and every nation faces its own political and socioeconomic difficulties. …

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