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Kuwait’s unemployment rate on the rise: Urgent need to bridge skill gap

According to official data from the Civil Service Bureau, the total number of unemployed Kuwaitis, both male and female, continues to increase annually. It is time to address the main causes behind this trend. The reasons being as follows:

  • An oversupply of graduates in general, particularly in fields with low market demand.
  • A mismatch between labor market needs and the skills of university graduates.
  • A reluctance to enter the private sector.
  • Poor coordination among relevant authorities.

If current conditions persist without fundamental adjustments to the quality of graduates, the increase in graduates with irrelevant specialization will continue, while the demand for specific specializations persists.

Sources familiar with the matter informed “Al-Anbaa”, the Central Statistical Bureau officially announced that according to data from the Civil Service Bureau integrated system on November 19, 2023, the number of unemployed Kuwaitis rose to 8,727, including 4,177 males, accounting for approximately 48%, and 4,550 females, accounting for approximately 52%. The majority of the unemployed are youth, with approximately 69.7% aged between 20 and 29, and 77% of them are males.

The same administration noted that on June 30, 2022, the number of unemployed Kuwaitis was 8,318, including 3,409 males, accounting for 41%, and 4,909 females, accounting for 59%. In the same period in 2021, the number of unemployed was 7,668, including 3,529 males, accounting for 40%, and 4,139 females, accounting for 54%.

According to 2024 data, the number of registered citizens currently awaiting nomination is 14,000, expected to increase to 30,000 by the end of the year after opening registration during the three approved periods announced by the Civil Service Bureau in June, September, and December. It is now customary to register approximately 16,000 citizens from second-semester graduates and remaining students whose circumstances prevent registration during the three periods.

Sources added: In case there are specializations needed by ministries from job seekers, citizens will be nominated to benefit from the remaining 20,000 financial degrees from the budget of the fiscal year 2024-2025. Currently, 3,000 degrees are being used to complete the procedures for the remaining candidates from the fiscal year 2023-2024.

It was stated that we will have at least 10,000 unemployed citizens after exhausting the budget for the fiscal year 2024-2023. Therefore, it is time to appoint experienced professionals to coordinate between the Civil Service Bureau, Kuwait University, the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, and the Higher Planning and Development Council to reduce specializations not needed by the job market. It is also imperative to find factors to attract students to study the in-demand specializations.

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