Employment in Kuwait surges but gender wage disparities persist

Employment in Kuwait surges but gender wage disparities persist

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 28: The Central Administration of Statistics report sheds light the number of workers in the State of Kuwait as at the end of the third quarter of 2023, classified according to number, gender, nationality, wages, ages, etc, putting its size to about 2.107 million workers, not counting the number of domestic workers, reports Al-Jarida daily. An increase of 6.6% (1.977 million workers at the end of the third quarter of 2022), which is an increase that, if true, contradicts all the goals of modifying the demographic composition. When adding domestic workers and the like — the family sector — whose number is about 790,000, the total rises to about 2.897 million workers (2.688 million workers at the end of the third quarter 2022), and the percentage of domestic workers amounts to about 27.3% of the total employment in Kuwait as of the end of the third quarter 2023 (26.5% of the total employment at the end of the third quarter 2022).

The numbers of the Central Administration of Statistics sometimes differ from the numbers of the Public Authority for Civil Information and the two government agencies. Population and employment numbers are essential input for formulating public policies and it is not permissible for them to differ, and they and other national statistics are supposed to be accurate in the program.

The latest data on wages and employment in Kuwait shed light on several key trends in the labor market, particularly in terms of gender disparities and sectoral dynamics. In the government sector, the average monthly wage for male Kuwaiti workers stood at approximately 1,952 dinars, compared to 1,364 dinars for female Kuwaiti workers, indicating a significant gender wage gap of 43.1%.

Similarly, non-Kuwaiti male workers earned an average of 795 dinars, while their female counterparts earned 709 dinars, reflecting a smaller gender wage gap of 12.1%. When considering both sectors, Kuwaiti workers receive substantially higher wages than non-Kuwaitis, with Kuwaiti males earning about 1,886 dinars and females earning 1,322 dinars. Non-Kuwaiti males earned an average of 323 dinars, significantly lower than the average wage for non-Kuwaiti females, which was 482 dinars.

Despite efforts to promote employment in the private sector, the number of Kuwaiti workers in this sector decreased slightly, while government sector employment increased. However, the productivity of Kuwaiti government sector employees remains a concern, attributed to factors such as overcrowded work environments, educational shortcomings, and a mismatch between skills acquired and labor market demands.

The educational profile of Kuwaiti government sector employees is relatively high, with approximately 86.5% holding degrees ranging from high school diplomas to postgraduate qualifications. Despite this, challenges persist in translating this educational attainment into productivity and effectiveness in the workplace. Efforts to address these challenges will require comprehensive strategies aimed at enhancing workforce skills, improving the efficiency of government operations, and promoting greater gender equality in wages and opportunities.

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