A new study found only 43% of employees in the $16bn sector are Saudis despite the gov’ts quota of 100%.
The Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for the Saudisation rate in the gold and jewellery sector to be halved from 100 to 50 percent, it was reported.
While the study predicted a substantial increase in gold sales in the Riyadh region in coming months, it said the industry was facing problems because of a lack of skilled workers, high salaries and a 5 percent import tariff, Arab News reported.
Currently Saudis accounted for only 43 percent of the 3,243 employees working in the sector.
There were an estimated 302 jewellery shops in Riyadh.
The study called for setting up special industrial cities for gold work, reducing import tariffs, establishing training institutes for Saudi men and women and extending more incentives to investors.
The Saudi gold and jewellery market is worth an estimated SR60billion ($16bn), with much of the annual sales coming from the nearly 10 million foreign pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah.
Gold sales in the region rose by 79 percent last year, with diamond sales increasing by 62 percent and jewellery by 24 percent.