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Dubai workforce stats uncovered

Dubai workforce stats uncovered

Unemployment is down in Dubai according to latest figures, but termination of services is the number one cause. Kipp gives you an overview.

July 14, 2010 1:46 by

The Dubai Statistics Center’s annual “Labour Force Survey” for 2009 has been published, giving insights into recent changes in Dubai’s workforce.

The figures revealed a decline in unemployment of 19 percent, according to Gulf News. The unemployment rate for the emirate for 2009 was just 0.8 percent, with 11,152 people recognized as unemployed in an economically active population of 1.36 million. The economically active population formed 86.6 percent of the total population of 1.57 million, according to the figures.

The paper compares this favorably with the OECD’s average of 8.5 percent, which is not expected to fall in the near term.

Of those unemployed, 7,139 were expatriates and 3,973 were Emiratis, and the biggest reason for unemployment was termination of services by employers, says the report.

Other key details:

  • Unemployment rates were higher for university graduates.
  • More female expatriates are out of work than males, but more Emirati males are out of work than females.
  • Among Emirati’s the employment rate is 8.7 percent. 6.8 percent of those over 15 in Dubai are Emiratis, but they make up only 3 percent of the working population.
  • The working age population grew by 7.2 percent, and more than 80 percent of Dubai’s working population is male
  • More than 58 percent of working Emiratis had jobs in “public administration and defence,” while almost 43 percent of expatriates worked in construction.
  • Almost 69 percent of working expats earn less than AED 3,000 a month, while almost 68 percent of working Emiratis earned more than AED 14,000.

The National confirms that people who are not economically active – for example housewives, students, those not seeking work, those unable to work, retirees, temporarily disabled – were excluded from the calculations.

The Gulf News says that, despite the decrease in unemployment rates the figures do not provide meaningful insight into Dubai’s economy, according to Simon Williams, HSBC Middle East Chief Economist. “The unemployment number isn’t a very important variable in the UAE as a whole because of Dubai’s unique labor structure,” he told the paper.

As expatriates in the Gulf have to be employed or studying in order to have a valid residency visa and since the workforce is heavily expatriate-dominated, the unemployment rates are not a significant economic indicator, he said.

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  1. Robert on July 15, 2010 1:32 am

    In a city like Dubai I don’t think that the unemployment rate is an accurate measure of the ability to find a job. The number of airport arrivals vs the number of airport departures would show the number of people that are leaving Dubai as they can’t find jobs.

  2. Miss Anne Thropic on July 15, 2010 8:52 am

    This report also indicates that it is high time for students to become economically active. Labour laws need to change so that high school and university students can take on part time jobs, as happens elsewhere. Not only does this give students a sense of responsibility and the chance to learn about managing their own finances, but it helps develop a work ethic.

    I am grateful for the Pizza Hut job I did as a student – it was by no means my dream job but it taught me a lot about the value of hard work and the sense of satisfaction that comes from earning my own money rather than relying on either parental or government handouts.


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