Locals paid more than us, moan GCC expats - poll

Study reveals that almost half of residents believe citizens are better paid than them
Emirati men, Dubai, UAE nationals and expats. (Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)
By Daniel Shane
Mon 13 May 2013 12:55 PM

Nearly half of all expats in GCC nations claim that nationals are paid better salaries than them, according to the findings of a poll.

The survey by jobsite Bayt.com found that 46 percent of residents in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait believe nationals of these countries are paid more, while a third (35.6 percent) claim governments lean on their employers to encourage them to hire more citizens.

Nationalisation of the workforce is a key policy in countries including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where citizens of subcontinental and western nations vastly outnumber locals.

In the UAE, nationals are said to make up less than 1 percent of private sector employees and unemployment runs at 14 percent.

The Bayt.com study also found that more than half of respondents (52 percent) believed that GCC governments’ nationalisation programmes were effective, with 42 percent stating that Gulf citizens were given support by authorities in terms of finding a job.

Last year, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum called on the country’s private sector to contribute more in terms of hiring locals.

“I call on my colleagues in the private sector that have benefited greatly from this country to extend a helping hand in the process of Emiratisation, even in a tiny percentage, to make a contribution to growth of this country,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Sheikh Mohammed revealed plans for a project to employ 120,000 UAE nationals, but did not give any further details of the timeline or specifics.

The Dubai ruler, who is also vice president of the oil-rich UAE, declared 2013 the ‘Year of Emiratisation’. As part of the initiative, events will be held to offer “opportunities for young Emiratis seeking to join the UAE labour force”.

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