Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 May 2020

Only 0.5% of Dubai population out of work, but Emirati unemployment on the rise

Annual Labour Force Survey shows Emirati unemployment in Dubai has increased since 2016

Students from all over the globe move to Dubai and the rest of the UAE to continue their education. Reem Mohammed/The National
Students from all over the globe move to Dubai and the rest of the UAE to continue their education. Reem Mohammed/The National

Just one in every 200 people are out of work in Dubai - but Emirati unemployment is on the rise, a new government survey has revealed.

The Labour Force Survey by Dubai Statistics Centre found while just 0.5 per cent of the population were jobless in 2018, Emirati unemployment jumped from 2.9 per cent in 2016 to 4 per cent last year.

Researchers found 62.6 per cent of Emirati men are in work, while just 36.5 per cent of Emirati women are employed.

“These results illustrate the flexibility and strength of Dubai’s economy as it continues to record the lowest rates of unemployment in the world, and one of the highest rates in economic participation,” said Arif Al Mehairi, executive director of Dubai Statistics Center.

“The Labour Force Survey is one of the key strategic statistical projects of the emirate.

“It has used the latest technologies and smart geospatial tools to record data from a representative sample of 3,000 households in Dubai.”

Mr Al Mehairi said the annual survey is an important source of information for decision makers, policy makers, planners and labour market researchers.


Of the 3,000 households analysed, half were Emirati and half expatriates, and taken across a range of different Dubai communities.

Employment rates are calculated based on the net participation rate in labour force divided by the total working-age population.

They aim to provide a clear picture of the economic participation of Emirati males and females in society.

According to the survey, 2,242,363 people were employed in the emirate last year out of which 81.3 per cent were males while 18.7 per cent were females.

Changes to visa policies for expatriates have been attributed to the historic low unemployment rates.

Constructive policies grant residency visas to employees, investors, students and persons of equivalent status only if they have a job.

The survey found 96.9 per cent of men are employed, compared with 55.9 per cent of women.

Analysts said the figures reflect Dubai’s prosperity, but the numbers were low for Emirati women as they are professionally more selective.

“The survey results show half Emiratis of working-age are involved actively in economic activities,” Mr Al Mehairi said.

“The female unemployment rate is attributed to the fact Emirati females prefer to work in the government sector and in certain jobs and professions.”

Updated: May 20, 2019 09:47 AM



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