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UAE Labour update

UAE Labour update

Companies are hiring, but UAE execs find labour laws restrictive and problematic while UAE youth feel confused about future career prospects.

January 23, 2011 2:14 by

There’s plenty about UAE labour and labour laws in the local papers this week. Kipp is doing its usual sterling duty, and saving you the bother – here’s the round up: While experts speculate that hiring is on the rise, UAE execs say changing labour law is a serious hurdle for them. At the same time, the UAE’s young people are confused and pessimistic about their employment prospects and career options, apparently. Read on as Kipp takes you through the major developments in the realm of the UAE labour market.

Labour laws. In a country that has been continually importing labour since its inception 40 years ago, the UAE track record with labour laws has been at times a little embarrassing and at other times a lot confusing. Mind you, with over 80 percent of the UAE’s workforce constituting expatriates, you can forgive the country’s ministry of labour for not yet having the labour laws down to a fine art. Instead we have a work in progress, which means a set of often vague laws that always seem to be changing.

In fact, a recent survey found that UAE executives said that they considered the restrictive labour laws of the UAE to be their biggest hurdle for 2011. The latest survey by the management consultancy Oliver Wyman and the polling firm Zogby International found that a sizeable 43 percent of UAE execs aired concerned about the UAE’s rather tricky labour regulations. “Visa rules for expatriate workers and families, unrealistic nationalisation quotas and complex hiring or firing restrictions” were the major challenges faced by UAE execs, according to the results.

Kipp is far from surprised by the results, quite frankly, given all of the confusing changes in the labour law of recent. Whether the execs are suffering a lack of confidence or bout of severe confusion or both, their problems are surely something the government needs to take on board.

Oliver Wyman partner, John Turner, told The National he intended to use the results of the survey to provide feedback to the Federal Government about priorities for policy reform: “In a region with US$100 [Dh367.27] oil price and continued double-digit growth, a lot of the policymaking questions get pushed under the table (…) Before oil prices again go over $100 and the coffers are refilled, this is a prime time to address these policy issues revealed through the financial crisis.” Here, here.

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