Sunday, 16 January 2011, 09:01 GMT
Government employees dissatisfied

File photo

The Kurdish Globe
By Qassim Khidhir--Erbil

Too many employees not good for workers' morale

"Lack of productivity and poor performance" a direct result of employee dissatisfaction.

A major reason for job dissatisfaction in Kurdistan is not low salaries, lack of promotions, uncomfortable work environments or lack of job security-it is the large number of employees.

Anwar Abdullah, a real-estate businessman, said whenever he visits government establishments he clearly notices that employees are unhappy. "Many of them hardly answer people; they do not smile and look bored," Abdullah noted. He thinks employees are miserable not because they are busy, but because in every department is a large number of employees--more than necessary. In any establishment, reception is considered the image of that establishment, good or bad. When reception receives a person warmly and with respect, the person enters the establishment with encouragement, said Abdullah. "Here, in most receptions, are usually more than two receptionists who barely speak or address you."

Wshyar Muhammad, who lived for 12 years in Germany and now is back in Kurdistan Region, said the differences between a government department in Germany and a government department in Kurdistan are obvious. "In Germany, employees are very busy all the time; they run and walk fast. But here, when an employee goes from one room to another, he walks very slowly as if he walks in a park. In Europe, employees must treat people nicely; it is part of the job," he said.

The government says that the workplace environment and a large number of employees forces workers to be unenthusiastic about their jobs. "When I got a job from the government, I was full of energy with a lot of ideas," said Layla Nooradin, 25, a government employee. "But now I see my work as the most boring thing in my life since there is nothing I can do--I just sit and chat with my coworkers." She added that her department only needs five people, but it has more than 15.

According to the Kurdistan Regional Government, 1 million and 300,000 people in Kurdistan are government employees, while the population of Kurdistan Region is 4 million and 864,000. Consistent with international standards, for every 50 people, one should be a government employee; however, in Kurdistan, for every four people, one person in a government employee.

Economic experts are seriously concerned about the existence of a large number of government employees; they say the government uses the general budget to pay employee wages instead of for investments and projects.

Abdulkareem Abdullah, an economist, told "The Kurdish Globe" that in Kurdistan, most people prefer government jobs over private jobs due to two reasons: First, Kurdistan government never fires or punishes any employee, which is bad policy. Second, such jobs have a retirement pension. In Kurdistan, private jobs do not give retirement pensions.

Regarding unhappy government employees, Abdullah noted many factors that lead to job dissatisfaction-mainly lack of fair pay according to job-level positions, lack of promotions, weak relations between managers and employees, and managers rarely listen to employee issues. In addition, employees feel no loyalty toward their jobs because they aren't involved in decision-making and suggestions for improvement. "Thousands of researchers have proved that job dissatisfaction leads to lack of productivity and performance," Abdullah concluded.