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Kuwaiti workers make up just 15.6% of labor market

The private sector continued to employ more than half of Kuwait’s workforce, comprising about 56.8% of total workers, while the family sector accounted for 31.9%

  • The government sector, according to labor market data from the Central Administration of Statistics, represented 16.3% of the total employment in Kuwait.

  • The largest number of Kuwaiti workers is concentrated in the government sector, comprising 80.1% of the total workforce in that sector

  • The number of Kuwaiti males in the labor market reached 191,200 citizens, while the number of females in the labor market reached 262,800 citizens.

Last year, the Kuwaiti labor market underwent significant changes with approximately 129,000 new entrants, boosting the total workforce to around 2.919 million by the end of 2023. This marked a 4.6% increase from the 2.790 million workers recorded at the end of 2022.

The private sector continued to employ more than half of Kuwait’s workforce, comprising approximately 56.8% of total workers, while the family sector accounted for 31.9%. The government sector, according to labor market data from the Central Administration of Statistics, represented 16.3% of the total employment in Kuwait.

Kuwaiti workers

According to the figures, the number of Kuwaiti workers increased from 442,600 individuals in December 2022 to 454,000 individuals in December 2023, achieving an annual growth rate of 2.6%. This brings their total participation in the labor market to 15.6%.

When distributed by gender, the number of Kuwaiti males in the labor market reached 191,200 citizens, while the number of females in the labor market reached 262,800 citizens.

The number of non-Kuwaiti workers increased from 1.59 million individuals in December 2022 to 1.67 million individuals in December 2023, marking a 5.3% increase. Among them, the number of males reached 1.4 million, while the number of females reached 187 thousand.

The government sector experienced a 2.4% increase in the number of employees, totaling about 476 thousand. The majority of these employees (80.1%) are citizens, numbering 381.2 thousand citizens, compared to 94.8 thousand non-Kuwaitis working in the government sector.

Similar to the increase witnessed in the government sector, the private sector also experienced growth in its employee numbers during the past year (2023) by about 84,500 people. This brought the total number of employees in the private sector to 1.65 million individuals, marking a 5.3% increase over the number of workers in the private sector during 2022.

The number of citizens working in the private sector surged from 71,800 to 72,800, reflecting a 1.3% rise. Meanwhile, the number of non-Kuwaitis working in the private sector increased by about 156,400 individuals, bringing their total number to 1.656 million workers.

Family sector

The number of workers in the family sector (such as servants) increased by about 33,000 workers during the past year, bringing the total to approximately 786,231 workers.

The largest number of Kuwaiti workers is concentrated in the government sector, comprising 80.1% of the total workforce in that sector. The number of Kuwaiti workers in the government sector increased from 370,814 individuals in 2022 to 381,208 individuals by December 2023.

While the largest proportion of non-Kuwaiti workers is in the private sector, accounting for 64.3%, the number of non-Kuwaiti workers in the private sector surged by about 84,000 people, bringing their total to 1.58 million.

In contrast, the percentage of non-Kuwaiti workers in the government sector reached 3.8% of the total workforce in that sector, while the percentage of workers in the family sector accounted for approximately 31.9% of the total workforce in the country.

National employment

Over 56.7% of national workers in the private sector are focused on three main economic activities: 32.6% work in accommodation and food services, 13.1% in financial and insurance activities, and 11% in construction.

Non-Kuwaiti workers

Over 60.6% of non-Kuwaiti workers are engaged in the private sector, specifically in three economic sectors: 36.6% in food and accommodation services, 13.8% in construction, and 10.2% in manufacturing industries.

Top 10 nationalities

India topped the labor market in Kuwait, comprising about 30.3% of the total workforce, with approximately 885,400 workers of Indian nationality. Egypt followed in second place with 477,900 workers, accounting for 16.4% of the labor market.

Kuwaitis ranked third with 454,000 workers, making up 15.6% of the labor market. Filipino workers occupied 9% of the Kuwaiti labor market with 262,800 workers, while Bangladesh accounted for 8.5% with 249,400 workers. Sri Lanka had a 4.7% share, totaling 137,400 workers of the same nationality.

Following that, Nepal, Pakistan, Syria, and Jordan had worker numbers of 111,000, 70,000, 46,600, and 28,900, respectively.

Source: Al Qabas



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