According to a recent report by the Arab Times, “major decisions concerning expatriates working in the government sector will be taken soon, as part of measures to address the lopsided population structure of the country, says Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Development and Planning Affairs Hind Al-Sabeeh. Al- Sabeeh made the announcement during the annual meeting of the Engineers without Borders Kuwait Chapter recently.” (Feb 19, 2016).
I have always insisted while writing articles about the Kuwaitization of our work force that every country around the world aspires to achieve national self-sufficiency and independence in the most vital jobs. However, in order to achieve an appropriate level of Kuwatization in our administrative and technical sectors, the government needs to promote values of productivity, work ethics, commitment and hard work.
Such productivity goals however cannot be achieved while most manual and technical works continue to be occupied by expatriates. The government needs to begin a rapid process of Kuwaitization followed by consistent efforts to promote the culture of productivity and self-reliance among Kuwaiti employees. We need to promote a culture of productivity in the Kuwaiti work force in order to replace expats with our citizens. In order to promote a culture of productivity in the Kuwaiti work place we need to debunk some of the negative stereotypes about the Kuwaiti work force.
For instance, due to certain distortions, sometimes- bad intentions, some individuals have been spreading negative stereotypes about the ability of a Kuwaiti individual to practice manual or technical labor. Such distortions tend to be rather vicious especially when aspiring Kuwaiti young men start to compete with some expats in some professions.
In other words, one needs to acknowledge the fact that there might be a number of people, especially in professional jobs, who do not wish Kuwaiti citizens to take their jobs! Anti- Kuwaiti sentiments usually take the form of preventing some Kuwaiti employees from learning and gaining needed experience in the workplace, and whether the aspiring Kuwaiti employee works in the technical or administrative sectors, they face sometimes-hostile competitors! The government needs to start an effective program to promote productivity and Kuwaitization by requiring professional expats to pass on their work experiences to Kuwaiti nationals.
In some GCC countries, an expat, especially those who work in sensitive positions are required to pass on their work expertise to citizens. In Kuwait, we can do a more effective job while trying to achieve Kuwaitization by simply requiring some expats to work as mentors to Kuwaiti employees until citizens become fully qualified to replace expats.
By Khaled Aljenfawi