Unemployment rate: 9.8%
2011 GDP growth: 8.5%
Turkey’s impressive economic growth in the past decade has not been matched by comparable strength in the country’s job market.
While the average annual GDP growth during 2002 to 2006 exceeded 7 percent, the unemployment rate remained around 10 percent. A major factor behind this trend is the substantial number of people leaving the agricultural sector and moving to urban areas, according to OECD senior economist Rauf Gonec. There is also growing demand for jobs requiring medium to high level skills in the Turkish economy, while the bulk of the workforce has lower level skills, creating a mismatch between labor demand and supply, Gonec said. “Turkish enterprises do not find sufficient supply of skilled labor in the areas where they’re prepared to hire more people.”
There has been an improvement in youth unemployment in recent years. The youth jobless rate has declined in the last five years, falling from a high of 17.1 percent in December 2007 to 15.4 percent in March this year, according to the OECD.
While youth participation in the workforce has increased in Turkey, the country still has a low representation of women in the labor market. In 2011, women accounted for only 29 percent of the total labor force at 6.9 million, according to the ILO. Nearly half of all Turkish women enter the workforce at some point in their lives, but most end up quitting because of family obligationsor poor working conditions, according to researchers. Only 24 percent of women with a basic education level have jobs.
Pictured: Women protest during May Day in Ankara, Turkey.