The International Monetary Fund recently surveyed 61 countries and concluded that every year more than 150,000 educated young Iranians leave their home country to find a better life abroad. According to IMF, Iran has the highest rate of “brain drain” in the world. In our recent trip to Iran, I heard from one of the professors at Sharif Institute of Technology that about 60-70% of their graduates leave the country every year (Sharif being the best technical school in the country, and in some programs one of the best in the world). As these young talents leave their home, there is less hope for a brighter future for those who remain…
photo courtesy of BBC
Like many countries in the Middle East, Iran is currently facing a youth crisis wherein half of the population is between the ages of 15-24 and more than 30 percent are unemployed. Hidden within this figure are those young people who comprise the one in seven Iranians living under 1 USD/day. We find that there’s a widespread belief within the country that one of the main reasons for these young people’s low standing on the socio-economic ladder is that their skills and education are not meeting the demands of jobs in the Iranian economy (skills mismatch). Therefore, development projects often focus on improving technical skills (for example, computer training) in the hopes that these initiatives will provide greater access to the labor market and thus, greater economic security.