Kuwaitis Favor Public Sector Jobs Over Private Sector Opportunities

Kuwaitis Favor Public Sector Jobs Over Private Sector Opportunities

KUWAIT CITY, April 24: In light of the inability of the public sector to generate new job opportunities for citizens and the inability to employ 300,000 young men and women who will enter the labor market in the next 10 years, it is necessary to create a productive private sector that contributes to generating job opportunities for citizens, reports Al-Qabas daily. The private sector can contribute to providing jobs for Kuwaitis only through the government’s support in the form of tenders, manpower or labor assistance. Kuwaitis working in the private sector constitute only 4.4 percent of the total number of employees. This is a shocking and alarming figure, as it implies the reluctance of citizens to work in the private sector and their tendency to cling to government jobs.

The total number of nationals employed in the private sector has reached 72,300 out of 448,000 citizens working in the private and public sectors. These figures indicate that more than 377,000 Kuwaitis are employed in the government; thereby, burdening the State budget. This is a crisis that might worsen without a radical solution. The daily interviewed experts who shed light on the role of the private sector in employing Kuwaitis, especially since their percentage in the sector is shocking and does not fit into Kuwait Vision 2035. Director General of the Federation of Kuwaiti Industries Hoda Al-Baqshi said “the industrial sector is being pursued due to the lack of good infrastructure even at the level of investors, and there has been an exodus to local factories. The Kuwaiti market is small, most projects are at a standstill, and there is no preference for the local product unless the factories’ work is guaranteed. This necessitates support and commitment from the government by purchasing local products for the sector to be able to pay the salaries of Kuwaitis.”

Al-Baqshi has stressed the need of for a special remuneration package for employees in private companies, depending on the field where they are working. “For example, those working in factories should receive an allowance specific for the industrial sector. The private sector cannot provide lucrative employment benefits due to the limited market. The sector is strongly committed to the Kuwaiti productive element, but it cannot compete with the advantages offered by the public sector,” she explained. She also confirmed that the government sector suffers from disguised unemployment due to the society’s perception that it is a safe haven for providing endless job opportunities, in addition to the absence of the principle of reward and punishment and the lack of accountability and evaluation of productive and unproductive employees.

She asserted there is no unemployment in the country and there is no scarcity of job opportunities, but there is reliance on expatriate workers for productivity. She also cited the culture that prevents Kuwaitis from working in technical jobs, as many evaluate and classify them as not befitting the level. “A culture and an ancient legacy prevail — that the Kuwaiti works only in certain sectors. The lack of a clear plan and strategy for young people to engage in technical jobs in the private sector led to disguised unemployment in the public sector. The solution lies in creating a clear job description, appointing employees according to the manpower needs of each sector, and changing the State’s policy regarding appointments and evaluating applicants. It is illogical to employ a Kuwaiti just because he is a Kuwaiti,” she added.

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