Saudization versus statistics confuses Saudi jobs market

Published:  18 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, Jobs
Saudi lawmakers’ attempts to strengthen and streamline the labour market are failing.

New rules and regulations have failed to solve problems and are unsupportive of the much-publicised drive towards full Saudization, with different measures required if new job opportunities are to be created for local workers. A new approach is needed, focused on on-the-job training as well as ensuring Saudi nationals’ rights to employment and their fitness for the job. Employment security and opportunities for promotion are also essential, and employers who get away with providing poor quality working environments for locals should be prosecuted.

Overall, the job market situation at present doesn’t mesh well with the aims of Saudization, nor with Vision 2030 and the aspirations of the Saudi people themselves. The private sector is the focus of Saudi employment, but the vast majority of its positions are held by expatriates as there are no effective policies encouraging the prioritisation of employment of locals. The public sector is saturated with Saudi workers, but 80 per cent of jobs in the private sector are held by expatriates. There will always be a need for qualified, experienced expat professionals in specific fields but, generally speaking, everyday positions could well be held by Saudi nationals, provided they can be encouraged to fill the vacancies on offer.

At the same time, another report has been published, stating the Kingdom’s jobs market will soon have over 38,000 new positions for Saudis and around 67,000 vacancies for expats in the housing, commercial and food sectors. In addition, the industrial and construction sectors will offer Saudis a choice of 33,000 new jobs with foreigners able to apply for 85,000 vacancies. The figures originated with the General Authority of Statistics, and are expected to satisfy the employment needs of the 1.07 million jobseekers registered in 2018’s first quarter, 84 per cent of whom are women.
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