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02 October 2023

UAE has no accurate unemployment data: minister

By Staff

The UAE does not have accurate unemployment data and all statistics that has been issued in this field is largely disparate, the minister of education was reported on Wednesday as saying.

Humad Al Qatami also said authorities are currently conducting two studies on salaries in the public sector and movement of civil servants, including resignations and shifting.

“The unemployment figures and indicators among UAE nationals are not accurate,’ said Qatami, who is also chairman of the federal authority for human resources.

“All the figures and ratios that have so far been announced are largely disparate and different…this means they are not precise.”

Qatami said any data on joblessness should distinguish between unemployed persons and job-seekers.

“This is the big question that has to be answered so it will be a base for calculating the real unemployment rate…but the only confirmed thing in the unemployment file is that it requires real effort and cooperation among all parties to ensure jobs for nationals.”

Latest official data showed the UAE has one of the lowest joblessness rates in the world, standing at around 3.5 per cent in mid 2010. The level is third only to that in Qatar and Kuwait in the region.

But the rate is far higher among UAE nationals, standing at nearly 13 per cent compared with about two per cent among expatriates.

Experts believe the high national unemployment rate is due to a reluctance of most Emiratis to work in the private sector as it offers less financial benefits. Some private sector institutions also favour expatriate workers for lower wages and more skills.

As a result, nationals have remained below 10 per cent of the total work force in the private sector while they exceed 40 per cent in the public sector, which offers far more benefits to Emiratis.

Quoted by 'Al Ittihad' newspaper, Qatami said resignations and shifting by national employees in the public sector have gained pace over the past three years, adding that most of the resignations have been in skilled and technical jobs. “The job pyramid in the public sector has been upset over the past few years because of salaries,” he said.

He disclosed that the Authority is in the process of conducting two studies on salaries in the federal public sector and on the “annual job cycle rate in that sector.”