Unemployment up in Dubai – but city maintains one of world’s lowest rates

0.4 percent of emirate’s population jobless in 2015, up from 0.3 percent in 2014
By Staff writer
Mon 29 Aug 2016 11:58 AM

Unemployment rates in Dubai increased by 0.1 percent as the emirate maintains one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world.

Figures showed 0.4 percent of the population was jobless in 2015, up from 0.3 percent in 2014, according to a survey conducted by the Dubai Statistic Centre (DSC).

The numbers, which include all unemployed Emiratis and non-Emiratis, both male and females, over the age of 15, are lower than those in most major global cities, revealed the latest Dubai Manpower Survey.

“The manpower survey is one of the most important strategic surveys DSC conducts annually in support of the policies and plans related to the labour market,” Arif Al Muhairi, DSC executive director, told Gulf News.

The low unemployment figures are in part a result of high costs of living, which prevent employees from leaving jobs before they have secured a new position, said Nikola Kosutic, research manager at Euromonitor International.

The requirement of an employment visa or sponsor to live in the emirate also prevents joblessness from growing, he said. And most people seeking work in Dubai are based in other countries so are not reflected in the figures.

“A factor explaining one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates in Dubai is the high living cost, which prevents people from quitting a job before finding a new one,” said Kosutic. “The majority of foreign workers will remain in their jobs until they have secured different employment, thereby minimising time without steady monthly income.

“Another factor is that a large number of expats arrive in Dubai on a tourist visa to actively seek a job and, equally, they remain out of statistics’ reach due to their non-residency status,” he said.

The Manpower Survey revealed 59.6 percent of Dubai employees, numbering 1.7 million, are aged between 25 and 39. The age group includes 66.7 percent of all employed female and 51.6 percent of all employed male Emiratis in Dubai.

Due to high fertility and immigration rates, Dubai’s population has a median age of 33, making the population “very young” said Kosutic.

About 30 per cent employees in Dubai have an educational degree above high school. The percentage of employees who have an education less than high school has dropped to 48.7 percent, with 48.3 percent of all jobseekers holding a university degree or higher, according to Al Muhairi.

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