The UAE's Minister of Labour Saqar Ghobash has said he is mulling plans to create an unemployment insurance scheme in a bid to encourage more Emiratis to work in the private sector.He said during discussion at Session 2 of the G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting underway in Paris that job security was one of the key reasons why UAE nationals sought public sector employment.
He said the UAE Ministry of Labour was currently looking at creating an unemployment insurance scheme that offers "an added measure of security".The idea of a raised social protection floor may also be relevant to expatriates working in the UAE.
Currently, UAE law mandates that guest workers be paid an end-of-service lump sum equivalent to approximately one-month pay for each year of service.
A report commissioned by the UAE on social protection for temporary contract workers offered a number of suggestions including the creation of a Migrant Savings Account that can help sustain the guest worker in-between jobs.
The UAE, like much of the Gulf region, depends on foreign workers to fill jobs at all levels of the economy, hampered by a small local population and lack of qualified candidates.
Foreign workers hold key positions running national airlines, real estate, financial services and the media industry, as well as strategic roles within national government.
The Gulf state has made efforts to increase the number of Emiratis in non-government roles, including enforcing quotas for Emiratisation for private companies, but employers have struggled to match the wages offered by public sector firms.
"Our ministry is considering these various schemes; its immediate focus remains, however, on enforcing the current end-of-service scheme and protecting the worker against non-compliance or default by the employer," Ghobash said.
Research by Hay Group this week said the battle to hire UAE employees had sent average salaries soaring, with Emirati graduates commanding salaries up to 80 percent higher than expats.There are 35,000 unemployed Emiratis in the UAE, and only seven percent of nationals work in the private sector, according to the Ministry of Economy.
Up to 20,000 Emirati private sector jobs a year need to be created in the next decade to allow school-leavers to enter the labour market, Gobash said in May.