Half of expat workers in UAE “low-skilled”, says ministry
Roughly 50 per cent of expat workers employed by the private sector of the United Arab Emirates are low-skilled in the professions they practice, according to official data.
Over the past four years, the number of low-skilled workers surged by 250,000, while the number of skilled employees remained unchanged, the UAE’s Ministry of Labour says in a report.
The number of low-skilled foreign workers reached 2.19 million – almost half of the private sector–employed expat workers. By 2014, the UAE private sector employed 4.4m, according to the statistics published by Emarat Al-Youm.
Construction companies are the biggest employers of low-paid and low-skilled workers, the report reveals, urging firms to train and rehabilitate their employees for better productivity.
Issa al-Mala, the executive director at the UAE’s national cadres development programme (Kawader), says thatthe large number of low-skilled foreign workers in the UAE is a natural outcome of the massive development schemes and projects the country has embarked on.
However, Al-Mala urges private sector employers, namely construction companies, not to set profitability as the prime goal and to focus on the training and rehabilitation of their employees.
He notes that companies working in other key sectors such as oil and mining are keener on employing high-skilled workers according to strict recruitment criteria.