Labor Force-A: Figures, Wages and the Labor Sector – Third 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 third 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 (2.142 million workers in the end of second quarter 2019). If we add the household labor -family sector- and the like which is about 728 thousand workers, the total number will be 2.848 million workers (2.866 million workers in the end of second quarter 2019). Household workers’ percentage constitutes nearly 25.6% of total labor force in Kuwait as of the end of the third quarter of 2019 (25.3% of the total labor force in the end of second quarter 2019).

The average monthly wage of Kuwaiti male workers in the public sector is about KD 1823 (KD 1822 in the end of second quarter 2019). The Kuwaiti female wage average was KD 1278 (KD 1276 in the end of second quarter 2019), a difference of 42.6% in favor of men’s wages. The monthly salary average of non-Kuwaiti males in the public sector scored KD 737 (KD 736 in the end of second quarter 2019). For non-Kuwaiti females, the average wage was KD 672 (KD 668 in the end of second quarter 2019), with a 9.6% 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 1501 (KD 1500 in the end of second quarter 2019). The same average for non-Kuwaitis is KD 705 (KD 703 in the end of second quarter 2019), with a 112.7% difference in favor of Kuwaitis.

The monthly average wage of Kuwaiti males in the private sector is about KD 1437 (KD 1431 in the end of second quarter 2019), which is lower by 21.1% of males in the public sector. This average for Kuwaiti females in the private sector is about KD 893 (KD 891 in the end of second quarter 2019), which is 30.1% 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 275 (KD 272 in the end of second quarter 2019). 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 390 (KD 387 in the end of second quarter 2019), which is higher than the average salary of non-Kuwaiti males in the private sector by 41.9%, however it is lower than the average rate of non-Kuwaiti females in the public sector by about 42%.

In case of the overall wage average in both the public and private sectors, the monthly average wage of Kuwaiti males is KD 1737 (KD 1735 in the end of second quarter 2019) and for Kuwaiti females in the same sector it is KD 1214 (KD 1211 in the end of second quarter 2019), with a 43.1% difference in favor of males. The monthly average wage for non-Kuwaiti males is at KD 287 (KD 284 in the end of second quarter 2019) and at KD 451 for non-Kuwaiti females (KD 448 in the end of second quarter 2019), a 57.5% difference in favor of females. The monthly average wage for male and female Kuwaitis in the two sectors is about KD 1437 (KD 1435 in the end of second quarter 2019) and is KD 303 for non-Kuwaitis (KD 301 in the end of second quarter 2019). 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 316.4 thousand workers (314.9 thousand workers in the end of second quarter 2019). The number of Kuwait employees in the private sector is 73.5 thousand workers (73.8 thousand workers in the end of second quarter 2019). This indicates that the Kuwaiti workforce is distributed between 81.1% in the public sector and 18.9% in the private sector.

About 41.6% of Kuwaitis working in the public sector are university graduates, 4.3% are have postgraduate degrees, 14.7% obtain diplomas above high school but below university degrees, and nearly 21.5% are holders of high school certificates or equivalent. This entails that about 82.2% 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.