Bahrain Economic Recovery Plan
Pillar 5: Creating Quality Jobs for Bahrainis
Bahrain has commenced the rollout of a five-pillar national economic growth and fiscal balance plan (the Plan). The Plan is in line with Bahrain's Economic Vision 2030 and aims to support the Kingdom's post-pandemic recovery and economic diversification, as well as to enhance the Kingdom's long-term international competitiveness. Its five pillars include:
1. Developing strategic priority sectors;
2. Launching major strategic projects;
3. Simplifying commercial procedures;
4. Achieving fiscal sustainability and economic stability; and
5. Creating quality jobs for Bahrainis.
This series details the goals and initiatives planned under each pillar, continuing with the goals and initiatives of pillar 5 - creating quality jobs for Bahrainis to make them the "employee of choice" in the labour markets.
The main objective of pillar 5 is to prioritise Bahrainis' training, skills development and employment prospects. The new national strategy introduces several initiatives, including:
1. A new Labour Market Reform Plan that implements the National Labour Market Strategy initiatives;
- Harmonising education outputs with the needs of the labour market and strengthening the infrastructure for technical and vocational training: this outlines the implementation of initiatives by the Supreme Council for the Development of Education and Training (Council) to achieve progress in education and training by enacting laws and mechanisms for supervising performances in educational and training institutions and modernising the overall post-secondary school education. The Council implemented an “Employment Skills Platform,” which is an electronic database that provides information on the skills and jobs required by the labour market, providing data for building up the labour markets;
- Making Bahrainis the employees of choice in the public sector:emphasizing the importance of increasing the economic participation of Bahraini nationals; and
- Developing the recruitment of skilled expatriates: this framework aims to establish a selective process for the recruitment of expatriate workers with the necessary experience (rather than replacing Bahraini nationals), expertise and talent needed for the labour markets
2. Increasing private sector contributions for economic growth:
- Encouraging higher productivity and job quality: the Government Programme 2019-2022 aims to enhance the private sector's role in creating jobs for Bahraini nationals – this is achieved by the increase in productivity through investing in digital transformation and technology. Tamkeen supports this initiative by assisting private sector institutions with operational costs, infrastructure costs and other growth opportunities. In July 2022, Tamkeen supported GIG Gulf in recruiting 120 Bahrainis into their workforce; and
- Supporting efforts to link job seekers with companies: offers development from the Ministry of Labour & Social Development with readily available electronic services to access guidance and training opportunities - directly linking the job seeker and private sector companies that offer employment to Bahraini nationals.
3. Strengthening the regulatory framework on access to work and workers' rights:
- Fill and review regulatory gaps: regulations include the recruitment of expatriate workers, subject to the needs and requirements of each sector and not act as a substitute for hiring Bahraini nationals. The Plan aims to create robust policies and procedures for hiring expatriate workers to avoid unfair competition for Bahrainis but also still meet the employment needs of the market. Also adding policies that call for the evaluation of the required Bahrainisation rates in the private sector without causing harm to the workplace;
- Dealing with the economic effects of the pandemic: an initiative that deals with effects of the pandemic on the economy and ensuring the stability of Bahraini nationals in the labour markets – by payment of salaries of insured Bahrainis in the private sector through launching the National Employment Programme that has since employed approximately 640 Bahrainis up to 2021;
- Regulating residency for expatriate workers: regulating housing and adhering to safety requirements through inspections;
- Measures against violators: creating safeguards to monitor and reduce the number of irregular workers in the labour market; and
- Safeguarding the rights of all workers: aiming to protect the rights of all workers and their income through implementing a wage protection system
4. Launch Tamkeen's new programmes to enhance competitiveness of the Bahraini workforce in line with the current and future labour market needs:
- The recent joint initiative between Talabat, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Tamkeen, and the Bahrain Economic Development Board: led to the establishment of one of the GCC region's largest shared services centres (to be based in Bahrain), which aims to provide customer service (in both Arabic and English) to customers and 24/7 technical support to vendors using Talabat. This initiative will open up 1,000 employment opportunities for Bahraini nationals over a 24-month period by the end of 2023 including administrative, supervisory and leadership positions and jobs in customer service, quality assurance, training and technology; and
- The Minister of Labour and Social Development: Jameel Humaidan further reported “an increase of 32% of Bahrainis in private sector jobs compared to the same period during last year”, citing the success of the joint initiative between the Labour Market Regulatory Authority, Tamkeen and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
5. Aims to create 20,000 Bahraini jobs and train 10,000 Bahrainis annually until 2024:
- Bahrain Economic Quarterly Report: published in June 2022, cites Year on Year (YoY) growth in both Bahraini and non-Bahraini employment in the public and private sectors;
- the Social Insurance Organisation reported an increase of 1.2% quarter on quarter (QoQ) of total Bahraini workers in the private sector, reaching 147,579 works in Q1 2022, in addition to an increase of 1.5% QoQ, reaching 98,428 Bahraini workers (also recording a 2.9% growth in Bahraini average monthly salary in the private sector at BD779 in quarter 1 2022);
- the public sector reported an increase of 0.5% QoQ of Bahraini employees, reaching a total of 49,151 (total average monthly salary decreased by 0.1% QoQ and increased by 5% YoY with an average of BD866). Non-Bahraini employees had an increase of 3.8% QoQ, reaching 435,443 (total average monthly salary of BD264, increased by 0.4% QoQ);
- other initiatives include the ‘Furas’ programme launched by the charity work and youth affairs representative His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, which attracted 500 trainees; and
- the National Employment Program 2.0 has also reported that more than 10,000 Bahrainis have been employed due to this initiative since the start of the year, constituting 50% of the annual target of 20,000.
The Plan is an exciting step towards the nation's post-pandemic recovery with the aim of solidifying Bahrain's place as a leading economy. To quote His Excellency Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the Kingdom's Minister of Finance and National Economy, “This comprehensive economic and fiscal plan is an investment in our nation’s people, our businesses, and the future of Bahrain”.
Read more: Pillar 1: Developing strategic priority sectors, Pillar 2: Launching major strategic projects, Pillar 3: Simplifying Commercial Procedures & Pillar 4: Achieving fiscal sustainability and economic stability.