Female applicants for Saudi jobs could soar after driving ban reversed

Published:  30 Sep at 10 AM
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Tagged: Australia, Canada, Jobs
Following the announcement that women in Saudi Arabia will soon be allowed to drive, the local male-dominated jobs market might be in for a shock as more women professionals apply and are accepted.

Female workforce participation in Saudi Arabia is far lower than in other GCC countries due to the nation’s stricter form of Islam as well as centuries of cultural traditions. The reversal and consequences of the no-driving law as applied to women is being seen as the beginning of a serious attempt to modernise the Kingdom via its Crown Prince Mohammed’s Saudi Vision 30. Given the popularity of Saudi as an expat professional destination, it’s logical the move will attract more female applicants for its sought-after jobs.

The simple act of driving gives flexibility and mobility unavailable until now to female professionals in Saudi who’re used to running their own lives. The logistics of getting to and from work or even to the mall for essential shopping doesn’t fit well with successful women, especially when public transport is a no-no. This, plus other restrictions on women, has traditionally discouraged talented females from considering a relocation to Saudi Arabia.

Estimates suggest up to three million educated women, both expats and nationals, are waiting in the wings for a chance to share in and contribute to the Kingdom’s prosperity over the next decade. Their presence alone is expected to boost reform and generate economic growth. Also expected is a major change in established consumption patterns, as cash paid to drivers and taxi companies is redistributed to the retail and entertainment sectors. By the withdrawing of the ban on women drivers, personal mobility has now been granted to, literally, over half the entire population of the country.

Expat family life in the Kingdom will see a huge change, with trailing spouses and their children able to plan and enjoy their lives in a manner not possible until now. Women arriving from Western countries where they’ve been driving since they were old enough to get a license have mostly found the ban one of the most difficult aspects of living in Saudi, as it curbs freedoms they’ve been used to and forces them to rely on others. For female professionals who’ve been attracted to Saudi Arabia as a positive career and financial move but who were unwilling to give up their personal mobility, it’s a chance to have it all.

Related Tags: Saudi Arabia, expats in Saudi, reversal of driving ban, expat family life, female expat professionals, women in Saudi workplaces, male dominated expat workforce, Saudi Vision 30, trailing spouses, careers for expat women in Saudi, jobs market in Saudi,
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