Saudi Arabia advised to find ways to attract expat workers

Published:  21 Sep at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Tagged: Visas, USA, Australia
International inancial gurus are advising Saudi Arabia to work on addressing cultural differences in order to attract more foreign professionals.

At the present moment, Saudi Arabia is attempting to diversify away for its former almost total reliance on oil as a revenue stream. According to speakers at New York’s recent Bloomberg Global Business Forum, the kingdom is facing a major challenge in attempting to attract large numbers of expat professionals whilst failing to deal with massive cultural differences. One suggestion made by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was to build specific districts within which foreigners can live less restricted lives than in the rest of the country.

Blankfein spoke as part of a panel which included managing director of Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund Yasir al Rumayyan, who said the Kingdom is examining all options including extended gated housing districts for expats. It’s not clear as yet whether Vision 2030, Crown Price Mohammed bin Salman’s 10-year plan to wean the Kingdom from its dependence on oil revenues, would be flexible enough to accommodate separate districts where foreigners could ignore the strict codes of conduct enforced in the rest of Saudi Arabia.

Surprisingly, such a compound already exists in Saudi’s eastern province, supplied and managed by Aramco for the benefit of its foreign oil and gas workers. Known as Dhahran, it’s an exact replica of a typical Californian settlement, with its gated community sited close by the planet’s largest underground reserves of oil. Life inside the gates is typically American, with residents permitted to drink alcohol, women able to drive and wear what they like. Movie theatres show the latest blockbusters and the compound is lit up at Christmas each year.

The downside is that the compound is restricted to Aramco employees and their families, meaning that those who’ve reached retirement age must leave and, presumably, either return to their home countries, or decide on another, unfamiliar destination. Most find the sense of community almost impossible to replicate elsewhere, and the timelessness of the 85-year-old compound may well be a barrier to readjustment to the real world outside its gates.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive