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Middle East – Job growth hindered

13 February 2013

Gulf countries are still far away from establishing sustainable job growth despite the progress local labour markets have seen in recent years. The GCC countries, a political and economic union between Arab states such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have to do more to create local jobs, according to a new study.

A study commissioned by the Dubai Government Summit surveyed up to 1,200 respondents from each of the GCC countries. It found wide differences between the states and called for a more integrated approach to tackle labour discrepancies.

The survey, for instance, found that unemployment at 9% in the UAE was low compared to other countries in the region. This stands in stark contrast with Saudi Arabia where around 18% of the population was unemployed. 

“GCC countries are very different from each other. The challenges they face are different — from unemployment to productivity, to female participation, to mismatches between employer and employee expectations,” the study said. It called on governments to implement targeted labour policies to improve the job market and help the local population.   

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