Saudi expat exodus reveals link between low status jobs and social status

Published:  25 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, Jobs
With almost a million expats now deported from Saudi Arabia, why have locals not taken on their jobs?

For the past two years, the Saudi government’s deportation of illegally-working expatriate labour has emphasised its Saudization scheme, with some 900,000 now shown the door for various violations of labour, residency and border security laws. The move was expected to provide jobs for Saudi nationals, but by the end of 2018 jobless numbers had soared by 12 per cent to an all-time high. The deported expats had mostly been working in marketing, car repair, plumbing, catering and suchlike service-oriented job sectors, work which only a small minority of Saudi nationals would take on..

According to one Saudi economic analyst, Saudi nationals expect to get better opportunities in their homeland, such as higher-ranking positions in private companies or government jobs, with many basic businesses now struggling to get workers as a result. Local business owners are having problems finding enough unemployed Saudi workers formerly used to doing undemanding state sector jobs who're willing to work in the service industry. Generous unemployment benefits don't help and,.in addition, most Saudis don’t seem to be interested in taking over jobs formerly held by expatriates.

According to other employers, Saudi youth in general, whether male or female, is simply lazy and not interested in formal jobs. Rather than taking a position they feel is too low-paid to demonstrate their social status, they’d rather stay at home and live off state subsidies. Nowadays, Saudi companies are desperately seeking loopholes in the law requiring the hiring of a stated percentage of Saudi nationals, with some using what’s known as ‘fake Saudization’. The scheme involves hiring young Saudis, paying them a small salary and allowing them to stay at home whilst legally registered as employed workers. Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s unemployment figures continue to rise and work considered to be low class is still correlated with low social status.
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