Qatar has the highest number of nationals employed in the public sector in the GCC, according to local media reports on Monday.
A report by the International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) found that 88 percent of Qatari nationals work in the public sector.
The second highest ranking was the UAE, with 85 percent, followed by Kuwait with 82 percent, according to a report in the Qatari daily newspaper The Peninsula.
At 30 percent, Bahrain has the lowest number of nationals employed by the government, the IBQ report said.
The bloated public sector in the GCC and the low number of locals entering the private sector is a concern for leaders and policy makers in the region.
Sanjay Modi, managing director of Monster India, South East Asia and Middle East, told Arabian Business in July that schools and universities in the Gulf are failing to teach nationals the skill set required to enter the private sector and government intervention is needed.
“What you have to look at is education and employability. What the corporates and the employers are finding a challenge is the skill set and I think that is where government support is required," said Modi.
Earlier this year, the second annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey found that 61 percent of young Arabs in the UAE would prefer to work in the government sector than the private sector.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, chairman of the Young Arab Leaders UAE Chapter, told Arabian Business that “it is a disaster that more people want to work in the public sector.”
“I think more and more nationals are encouraged to work in the public sector, which is bad news and the government cannot absorb all these Emiratis.
“They need to encourage them to go and find work in the private sector or become entrepreneurs,” he added.
Al Qassemi believes it is the job security, shorter working hours and higher salaries in the public sector that attracts youths to government jobs.
“The government needs to step back and let people find their own way and not direct them to the public sector,” he added.
Metin Mitchell, the regional managing director of Korn/Ferry International, also revealed earlier this year that some of the GCC’s most famous names – including Kingdom Holding chairman Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and Alshaya chairman Mohammed Alshaya - fear that the Gulf could be hit by a series of "lost generations" that were essentially unemployable.
Mitchell said that the Gulf’s business leadership believed that local unemployment was likely to increase rather than decrease and would continue to do so until the education issue was addressed.
But the Korn/Ferry International director’s research also revealed that the lack of a work ethic and a bloated public sector were “killing” some of the Gulf countries.
“It is very debilitating for public sector business to carry more employees than it needs. It destroys morale, ambition and client service mentality, so that needs to change as well,” Mitchell added.
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