Bahrain is following in the footsteps of other GCC countries and pursuing a policy of nationalizing jobs and reducing the number of foreign workers in both the public and private sectors to tackle the problem of rising unemployment. According to official statistics from Bahrain’s Council of Ministers, unemployment reached 5.4% by the end of 2022, which prompted the government to take action.
To implement this policy, many companies in Bahrain are now laying off non-Bahraini employees in jobs that can be filled by citizens with the required expertise. The Bahraini Public Authority for Social Insurance reported that, in 2022, 50,000 people worked in the government or public sector, while 614,000 worked in the private sector, including 100,000 Bahrainis and 514,000 foreign workers.
Despite the government’s intention to restructure, employment in the public sector rose by 3% in 2022, while in the private sector, it increased by 3.1% for Bahrainis. However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested that job opportunities for Bahraini citizens could be provided by enhancing the flexibility of mobility in the labor market, containing public sector wages and addressing the mismatch of skills with labor market needs through coordinated and integrated training programs.
In line with the government’s policy, Naseej, a renowned real estate development company in Bahrain, announced a Bahrainisation rate of approximately 90% in 2023, achieving an increase of 11% in three years.
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