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Employment news from the Middle East and beyond. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

Offices need to offer flexibility, with a variety of spaces to allow for both collaboration and private conversations

Flexibility and amenities key to UAE office sector’s future

As workers globally grow resistant to spending all week at their desks, even the UAE’s strong-performing office sector must rethink its offering to meet shifting demand, industry professionals have told AGBI. “Since the pandemic, people have realised that the workplace has changed for ever. We are not going back to working in the office 80 […]

The UAE has bucked the trend of working-from-home that emerged in the pandemic

UAE offices in demand – in contrast to the West

Offices in the UAE are outperforming Western equivalents, with a steady influx of foreign businesses and local developers’ preference for residential projects. “The need for more Grade A office space is becoming increasingly urgent,” Behnam Bargh, managing director at real estate agency CRC, told AGBI. “Addressing this issue will be crucial for maintaining the country’s […]

GCC boards female

UAE leads GCC on board gender mix but region still lags

More than 10 percent of board seats at listed companies in the UAE are filled by women, well ahead of its Gulf neighbours, but still lagging the global average. At the 168 companies listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Dubai Financial Market, just 133 out of 1,231 board seats, or 10.8 percent, are […]

Monthly remittances from the UAE averaged over $450 million, making the Gulf nation the top remittance source nation

Remittances from UAE to Bangladesh surge 48%

Remittances from the UAE to Bangladesh surged 48 percent year on year to $3.3 billion in the first nine months of fiscal year 2023-24, according to data from the country’s central bank. Dhaka receives remittances between $250 million to $300 million per month from the UAE, The Business Standard, a financial newspaper, reported. However, remittances […]

Officer, Person, Adult

Saudi fund agrees $67m deal to support Omani SMEs

The Saudi Fund for Development in Oman has signed an OR 25 million ($67 million) deal with the Oman Development Bank to finance startups and create more jobs for the sultanate’s youth. The agreement is part of a wider $150 million package of support provided by the Saudi government through the fund, which offers loans […]

Turkey's unemployment rate for women was 11.3% in February, down from 11.6% in January

Jobless rate in Turkey edges back towards 10-year low

Turkey’s unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points month on month in February, to 8.7 percent, according to official data released on Monday. The seasonally adjusted figure is edging back down towards the 8.6 percent recorded in October last year, the lowest for a decade.  The unemployment rate for women was 11.3 percent in February, down […]

Foreign labourers work at the construction site of a building in Riyadh Foreign workers on a building site in Riyadh; thousands of migrants who have the right to work in Saudi Arabia could have their work permit fees covered for four years from the date of recognition

Saudi Arabia will pay costs of normalising migrants’ status

Saudi Arabia said this week it will take on the costs of normalising the status of displaced individuals from neighbouring countries in what could amount to amnesty for thousands of illegal migrants and refugees.  “The state assumes the costs on behalf of individuals permitted to stay and rectify their status among the displaced from neighbouring […]

Saudi Arabia's minister of human resources Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi. The sector is the latest to be targeted in the kingdom's Saudisation drive

Saudi Arabia steps up Saudisation job drive

Saudi Arabia’s government said this week that jobs in human resources (HR) in the kingdom are now restricted to Saudi nationals only. It is another step in the country’s plan to localise skilled jobs and reduce unemployment.  The ministry of human resources made the statement on social media site X, formerly Twitter, in response to […]

A Saudi woman works inside the first all-female call centre in the kingdom's security sector, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Saudi Arabia unemployment fell in Q4 2023

Unemployment among Saudi Arabian nationals fell to 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, from 8 percent during the same period in 2022, the government said this week, reflecting the growth of the non-oil sector despite an economic contraction.  Unemployment among Saudi males was 4.6 percent, which was up from 4.2 percent the year […]

Visitors shop in the souq in Manama, Bahrain. The government wants to encourage more youth into work

Bahrain launches minimum wage fund to bolster youth

Lawmakers in Bahrain are to spend over BD200 million ($500 million) to lift the minimum wage of the kingdom’s citizens.  The government hopes it will encourage more youth into the working world and stimulate the country’s economy. The initiative, run by Bahrain’s Labour Fund, which is also known as Tamkeen, received unanimous approval from the […]

Qatar hopes to lure skilled individuals and wealthy entrepreneurs

Qatar woos foreign talent with 5-year residency permit

Qatar has launched a residency permit aimed at attracting talented individuals and entrepreneurs.  The permit programme, which is expected to open in the next few months, offers five-year renewable residencies to people with expertise in specific fields including the arts and scientific research. Applicants must either have a job offer in Qatar or demonstrate financial […]

CEOs in the UAE have the lowest average current age, but women still only account for 5% of hires

Alstom breaks mould as Gulf lags on hiring women as CEOs

Dalya Al Muthanna is a member of an exclusive club. In January she became Gulf CEO for the transport giant Alstom, the company behind tram systems in Dubai and Qatar.  She was previously a senior executive at GE in the UAE, bucking the trend of men dominating senior C-suite jobs in the Gulf. Just 5 […]

Public sector jobs have traditionally been preferred by Emiratis, but the Nafis programme seeks to change those perceptions

UAE to invest $1.7bn to place more Emiratis in private sector jobs

The UAE is aiming to add 36,000 Emiratis to the private sector workforce this year and has approved a $1.7 billion budget to support Emiratisation. The number of UAE nationals working in the private sector was about 92,000 by the end of 2023, according to the Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council. Nearly 42,000 joined private businesses […]

A Starbucks cafe in Beirut, Lebanon. Jobs are being cut due to 'continually challenging trading conditions' in the Mena region

Kuwait’s Alshaya lays off Mena Starbucks staff

Kuwait’s Alshaya Group, one of the Gulf’s largest franchise owners, is cutting jobs at its Starbucks outlets.   The coffee brand has suffered from calls for a boycott since the start of the Gaza conflict. “As a result of the continually challenging trading conditions over the last six months, we have taken the sad and very […]

Workers in Bangladesh wait to travel to Saudi Arabia. Migrant workers have been sending remittances in smaller amounts.

Saudi remittances fall as expats invest domestically

Expatriate remittances from Saudi Arabia have fallen over the past two years, despite a rise in the number of overseas workers needed to develop the kingdom’s slate of huge giga-projects. Some experts have predicted the slump in funds sent back home could be as a result of improved investment opportunities inside the kingdom.  Yearly remittances […]

Unemployment increased from 15.8 percent to 16.8 percent in urban areas of Morocco marketplace Marrakesh Marrakech

Morocco job market hit by rise in rural unemployment

Morocco’s unemployment rate increased by 13 percent to nearly 1.6 million last year as the country’s rural areas haemorrhaged jobs. Between 2022 and 2023, the national economy lost 157,000 jobs, according to the latest figures from the Higher Commission of Planning. Although urban areas recorded an increase of 41,000 jobs, employment in rural parts of […]

These workers at a factory in Manama, Bahrain, could soon be enjoying a three-day weekend if the government goes ahead with proposed changes

Kuwait and Bahrain propose changes to working week

Lawmakers in Kuwait and Bahrain are pushing for major amendments to the working week, aiming to improve workers’ rights and boost the work-life balance in the two Gulf states. In Bahrain, the focus is on extending the weekend to three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  “There is an urgent need to keep pace with global […]

Emirates NBD will finance eligible SMEs at competitive rates, charging the Eibor with no additional margin

Dubai’s $136m boost to drive global growth of SMEs

Dubai has allocated AED500 million ($136.13 million) to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with ambitions to scale up globally. The initiative was launched in partnership with Emirates NBD, the UAE state-run Wam news agency reported. The Dubai international growth initiative will support the global expansion of SMEs founded in the emirate, Dubai Crown Prince […]

Retired people in the UAE will be encouraged to use the skills developed across their careers to develop small businesses in Dubai

Dubai launches small business plan to support Emirati retirees 

Retired emiratis are being incentivised to run their own companies after the launch of the Dubai Retiree Projects Support programme this week. The scheme is part of the Dubai Social Agenda 33, which aims to create a more proactive social system. Benefits include priority for government contracts, financing of future projects, exemption from service fees […]

Under the UAE's demographic diversity rule, companies must diversify the range of nationalities in their workforce

UAE reverses stance on diversity rule for visas

The UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has reversed its stance on a demographic diversity rule, previously cited by companies as the cause for multiple work visa rejections based on nationality. The policy is still expected to be implemented at a later date. AGBI recently reported that businesses in the UAE were encountering difficulties […]