As governments across the GCC strive to implement labour policies which accelerate the transition to “post oil” knowledgebased economies, this volume provides insights into the size of this challenge, along with analysis of progress to date. With a comprehensive coverage of the region (each GCC member is included in some respect), this new work provides unique insights into how the domestic policy agenda is shifting the region’s moribund labour markets inexorably towards greater productivity, positivity, sustainability and efficiency. This volume is based on a workshop held at the Gulf Research Meeting organized by the Gulf Research Center Cambridge in summer 2016.
In the past few years, most of the industrial growth in Saudi Arabia has been led by the construction & cement, metals & mining, and petrochemical & refineries sub- sectors, amongothers. The government’s plan for economic diversification, including investment in large infrastructure projects such as the six economic cities, is one of the key drivers of growth in the industry sector.
Real estate is one of the key non-oil sectors of the Saudi Arabian economy, and it will play an important role in the success of the economic diversification planned by the Kingdom. The real estate sector will continue to grow, led by a growing population, rising personal income, increasing participation of multinational companies in the country, government initiatives, and increased private participation.
The notion of “rentier mentality” has haunted the literature on the Gulf States for almost 40 years now. However, few studies have actually provided insight into how the Nationals themselves perceive their career motivators, employability and productivity. The eleven studies of this book present both empirical findings and case studies that reveal what nationals expect from their workplace and what hinders them from a personal, meaningful contribution. While it seems that an initially high work motivation is often annihilated by structural impediments such as a strong hierarchy or widespread wasta, it also seems that many national fail to understand the urgent requirements of the GCC labour markets.
Analyzing economic and/or political integration among countries from the labor market/migration perspective is relatively uncommon, and more so for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. In this paper, the authors start off with an analysis of the current status of the labor markets in the region, and then try to make the case that it is in the best interest of these countries to seek common ground in their labor market policies. They do this by examining the impact on closer integration on issues such as data collection, remittances, advancing skill levels, as well as addressing income inequality and recruitment issues. The paper concludes by outlining numerous policy recommendations.
This paper addresses a neglected area in studies of migrant labor in the Gulf States showing that exploitation of migrant workers occurs before deployment. Evidence from interviews conducted in the five major labour sending countries to Qatar (Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India) suggests that the recruitment procedures and corrupt practices by recruitment agencies and employing company personnel in the receiving country place unskilled workers in a highly vulnerable position prior to departure from their home countries. As a consequence of practices such as deception, false promises, substitute contracts, bribery, and extortion, there is evidence of debt bondage, forced labor, and trafficking within the normative framework of labor migration. Reform measures that are currently underway in Qatar include the banning of workers paying recruitment fees and charges to agents.
The GCC countries and the UAE and Qatar in particular have witnessed accelerated inflationratesfor three years now. Besides the dominant rent inflation,foodinflationhasbeenputinthespotlightrecently in the wake of food price hikes on a global scale. There should be no doubt that high food prices are very dangerous for political stability in all directions. That is because food security is a key element of human psychology. When such security is not guaranteed, it tends to exacerbate all sorts of cleavages and contrasts. There are also direct implications for the GCC countries where the demographic situation consists of a large expatriate population and a smaller national population base. In such situations, individuals who are normally tolerant of income or rights differences could begin to revolt and even question the political order. Moreover, it is the rulers who ultimately will be made responsible for the situation, and suspicion and animosity may erupt rapidly and unexpectedly. The issue thus deserves the utmost attention and decisive action.