Unemployment among native citizens in the six-nation GCC, the richest in the Arab world, has remained far higher than the rate among the expatriates, Saudi Arabia’s largest bank, National Commercial Bank said in a study.
The study said the joblessness problem among the young generations is “more acute” than the rate among other groups.“Even though the headline rates of unemployment in the GCC countries may not be exceptional by global standards, unemployment is a persistent problem in parts of the region, especially among nationals,” it said. “Of course resident expatriates usually come to the region on work visas and their unemployment tends to be largely transitional.”
Youth unemployment is one of the major challenges facing GCC economies. The ranks of the unemployed include many in some countries disproportionately many - with secondary and higher education. One problem is that young graduates still believe that a diploma means a guaranteed government job. “Quite contrary to media headlines about unemployment rates, the problem of joblessness is particularly acute among certain sub-segments of the population. In particular, it tends to disproportionately afflict the region’s rapidly growing young population.”
Citing Saudi Arabia, NCB said unemployment among the 15-19 age group according to the latest government data 2012 is 27.3 percent. In the UAE, youth unemployment is three times the overall unemployment rate, standing at around 12.1 percent vs. 4.0 percent, the report showed. In Kuwait, 36.3 percent of all the unemployed were 20-24 years old in April 2011. The report showed that among UAE nationals, female unemployment of 28.1 percent compares to male unemployment of 7.8 percent.