Labor Force-A: Figures, Wages and the Labor Sector – First Quarter 2019

The latest statistics on the labor force statistics in the State of Kuwait issued by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) as of the end of the first quarter of 2019 sorted according to its number, gender, nationality, wages and age groups, etc. indicate that the size of labor force in Kuwait is 2.121 million employees excluding the number of household workers (2.104 million workers in the end of 2018). If we add the household labor -family sector- and the like which is about 715 thousand workers, the total number will be 2.836 million workers (2.811 million workers in the end of 2018).  Household workers’ percentage constitutes nearly 25.2% of total labor force in Kuwait as of the end of the first quarter of 2019 (25.1% of the total labor force in the end of 2018).

The average monthly wage of Kuwaiti male workers in the public sector is about KD 1807 (KD 1778 in the end of 2018). The Kuwaiti female wage average was KD 1279 (KD 1272 in the end of 2018), a difference of 41.3% in favor of men’s wages. The monthly salary average of non-Kuwaiti males in the public sector scored KD 726 (KD   724   in  the  end  of  2018).  For  non-Kuwaiti females, the average wage was KD 666 (KD 664 in the end of 2018), with a 

9.1% difference in favor of males. The gender gap is more equitable in the case of non-Kuwaitis. The average monthly wage for Kuwaitis of both genders in the public sector is KD 1497 (KD 1482 in the end of 2018).  The same average for non-Kuwaitis is KD 697 (KD 695 in the end of 2018), with a 114.9% difference in favor of Kuwaitis.

The monthly average wage of Kuwaiti males in the private sector is about KD 1417 (KD 1411 in the end of 2018), which is less than 21.6% of males in the public sector. This average for Kuwaiti females in the private sector is about KD 866 (KD 861 in the end of 2018), which is 32.3% less than that of their female colleagues in the public sector. Undoubtedly, the government support leads to reduce the gap between the private and the public sector. The monthly average wage of non-Kuwaiti males in the private sector is about KD 271 (KD 269 in the end of 2018).  This equals 37.3% of the average salaries of their colleagues in the public sector. The average monthly wage for non-Kuwaiti females in the private sector is about KD 387 (KD 386 in the end of 2018), which is higher than the average salary of non-Kuwaiti males in the private sector by 42.7%, however it is lower than the average rate of non-Kuwaiti females in the public sector by about 41.9%.

In case of the overall wage average in both the public and private sectors, the monthly average wage of Kuwaiti males is KD 1721 (KD 1697 in the end of 2018) and for Kuwaiti females in the same sector it is KD 1209 (KD 1202 in the end of 2018), with a 42.4% difference in favor of males. The monthly average wage for non-Kuwaiti males is at KD 283 (KD 281 in the end of 2018) and at KD 449 for non-Kuwaiti females (KD 449 in the end of 2018), a 58.7% difference in favor of females. The monthly average wage for male and female Kuwaitis in the two sectors is about KD 1428 (KD 1415 in the end   of   2018) and is KD 299 for non-Kuwaitis (KD 298 in the end of 2018). Note that these figures above do not include household labor that would have a significant impact downward on the non-Kuwaiti wage rates if taken into consideration. Nor do they include the impact of governmental support allocations to Kuwaiti workers in the private sector.

The number of Kuwaiti employees in the government sector according to the CSB, is 311 thousand workers (308 thousand workers in the end of 2018) but according to PACI, this figure stands at 335 thousand. The number of Kuwait employees in the private sector is 74 thousand workers (73 thousand workers in the end of 2018). This indicates that the Kuwaiti workforce is distributed between 80.9% in the public sector and 19.1% in the private sector.

About 40.8% of Kuwaitis working in the public sector are university graduates, 4.3% are have postgraduate degrees, 15.1% obtain diplomas above high school but below university degrees, and nearly 21.6% are holders of high school certificates or equivalent. This entails that about 81.8% of government employees are holders of high school certificates and above. That being said, productivity in the public sector remained weak either due to overcrowding and the unorganized working environment, or due to the poor educational level or even because of the incompatibility between education outcomes and labor market requirements or even because of the spread of fake degrees.