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Hiring Kuwaitis in oil sector a big challenge

End result – Kuwait will suffer in the long run

Kamel Al-Harami Independent Oil Analyst

Recruiting Kuwaiti citizens in the oil sector of Kuwait is a huge challenge or possibly the hardest challenge that KPC and its affiliated companies will face in the coming years while trying to minimize the numbers in order to be in line with other national companies in terms of the ratio of Kuwaiti employees versus expatriates.

Today, the number of Kuwaiti employees is about 23,000 or 85 percent of total manpower. It is 15 percent higher than the established policy, and the rest are to be distributed to non- Kuwaitis.

The pressure of MPs on the government and oil sector is to increase the number of Kuwaitis in the oil sector as much as possible even though the current 85 percent perhaps is the highest so far while the remainder are non-managerial staff.

With the rest being outsourced and returning through the back door or the windows, simply changing the contracts from KPC to the local contractors could perhaps cost the oil sector more, but this seems to be the only solution to face the parliament.

The total numbers of employees in Kuwait’s oil sector is about 50,000, mainly expatriates, while about 10 percent are Kuwaitis. The number of employees in the country in total is around two million, and 1.6 million of them are fully employed by the private sector.

Among them, four percent are Kuwaitis and the rest are non-Kuwaitis. So, the answer is well within the private sector. The government can find its solution through the private sector in accepting the incoming new graduates who are seeking jobs, the number of which is reaching more than 34,000 graduates. The solution seems simple – privatizing some of the oil companies and letting the private sector handle the new challenge.

The government might be receptive, but it has to handle the MPs, as this is the “bread and butter” of the latter to use their “wasta” for finding jobs for those who vote for them. Without them, the MPs simply cannot survive. The oil sector has been employing about 5,000 individuals per annum, and this number will continue to be the same for the next five years.

The country as whole needs to find or create about 35,000 new jobs every year, and the recruitment of 5,000 employees in the oil sector is not much or enough for our MPs and their “wasta”, as they are directly involved in about 50 percent of the recruitment in the oil sector.

This is the reason why they are pushing for higher number of Kuwaitis in the oil sector. Eventually, the government and the oil sector must give in, at the expense of productivity, efficiency and manpower. At the same time, new graduates would not go near the private companies and will resist as much as possible, knowing that their respective MPs will succeed in finding them a lucrative easy job without any accountability in the government or oil sector. The end result is that our Kuwait will suffer in the long run.

By Kamel Al-Harami Independent Oil Analyst
email: naftikuwaiti@yahoo.com

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