A Generation without Work Contracts and Social Security: The Urgency of Policy Focus on Youth Job Informality in Egypt

Published on


This Discussion Paper has been presented as a part of the workshop called The Social-Economic Situation of Middle East Youth on the Eve of the Arab Spring, hosted on December 8 - 9th, 2012 at the American University in Beirut. Building on interviews with young people working within the informal economy, this paper describes the lived experience of work informality and lack of social protection among youth. By workers within the informal economy, this paper focuses on young people that are wage workers in employment relations that are not documented by work contracts. The focus of the paper is educated youth. By educated, I refer to young people with high school diplomas and above. What this paper seeks to provide is an understanding of the process of informality as experienced and described by working youth themselves. How do young people perceive their lack of social protection and social security? If the needs of the present are barely covered by the income that comes from work, how do workers foresee their future? What policies need to be put in place to address this situation of vulnerability? Qualitative interview data is embedded in quantitative data on the situation of work informality among wage-working young people to provide the overarching structural constraints facing young people and the level of prevalence of the phenomena being described through qualitative data.


Ghada Barsoum

Available languages