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Jobless Rate Sits at 13 Percent for Emiratis


UAE : 12 January 2011

The unemployment rate for Emiratis is nearing 13 percent based on the data of highly comprehensive figures surrounding the employment within the federal government.

This data was recently released by the health, social affairs and labour committee of the FNC along with an analysis of the FAHR (Federal Authority for Human Resources) policies.

The figures were included in a study dated in July 2009 that was done by human resources and employment authority Tanmia.

Stats indicate that Emiratis make up the vast majority in the public sector and also have high levels of unemployment, especially within youth and women.

Joblessness within nationals sat at 12.9 percent. Those who were over the age of 15, looking for and able to work Emiratis were included in that figure.

In the emirates of the south unemployment rates sat at 11.6 percent, while those in the north were at 16.6 percent. Joblessness in the youth of the area, between 15 and 24 years of age, was recorded at 23.1 percent.

The report from the committee stated that the amount of  working Emiratis with the federal government was not high enough.

In the federal government 69 percent of positions were filled by nationals back in 2006. That amount dropped to 54.5 percent for 2008. By April of 2009 the rate of Emiratis in the government has increased again to 60.9 percent, although the FNC stated this was only a slight increase.

The warning from experts is that the public sector is now saturated. The FNC financial committee released data early on that indicated bodies within the federal government were allocating far too much of their budgets to salaries and employing more managers than necessary. As an example, the Ministry of the Interior expends 92 percent of their budget on employee salaries.

Officials for the government have urged nationals to enter the private sector as opposed to seeking out government positions.

The FNC also noted that salaries within local government sat at levels up to 54 percent higher than those seen in the federal bodies. This has dampened attempts and squashed proposals to emiratise further.

Members of the FNC are protesting that this pattern has bled the top ministries of the professional staff needed.

Also, it was argued by the committee that maternity leave benefits and time for maternal care such as breast-feeding was limited in the federal government, thereby discouraging the female staff from having children. One committee member went so far as to say that these conditions result in a policy of one to two children maximum.

Although it is required by law, over 100 federal government bodies do not currently have workplace nurseries.

Committee member Ruwaya al Samahi, who is from Fujairah, commented that these workplace conditions could deter a woman from having another child after her first.

Chairman of FAHR Humaid al Qattami, who is also the Education Minister, noted that a committee has been formed to look at measures that would create a friendlier atmosphere for women in the federal government. The studies of that committee are set for completion during the first quarter of 2011.

Measures proposed by the committee include reducing the time span before females can retire from 20 years down to 15 and doing away with the minimum age for retirement for women which currently stands at 50. The committee also recommended setting up a court that would be responsible for handling grievances occurring within the federal sector.

There was no vote on the proposals after the chairman of the committee walked out on the session. The speaker had interrupted the chairman prompting the walk out and now voting has been delayed.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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