Half of jobless Saudis have never applied for work

Ministry of Labour report finds 49 percent of unemployed Saudis have not sought work
82 percent of those took part in the survey were female (AFP/Getty Images)
By Daniel Shane
Wed 20 Feb 2013 02:10 PM

Almost half of unemployed Saudi Arabians have never applied for a job, according to a study by the Gulf kingdom's Ministry of Labour.

The survey by the ministry, which polled 16,000 citizens, found that 49 percent of jobless people in the GCC's most populous country had never attempted to secure work, Arab News reported.

More than four-fifths (82 percent) of those that took part in the poll were female.

Over a third (37 percent) of Saudi job seekers hold high school degrees, while just 1 percent have diploma degrees.

Some of those that took part in the study said they had not sought work as they had not found anyone to help them search for a job, while others expressed concerns over their lack of qualifications and English speaking ability.

Saudi Arabia’s unemployment rate is estimated to be 12.2 percent of the local population, according to a separate government survey of 29,000 families in the country.

The total number of employed Saudis is 4.2m, representing 87.8 percent of the Saudi labour force, a poll conducted by the Central Department of Statistics and Information said.

The Gulf state, which is struggling to create public sector jobs thanks to a decades-long population boom, is pushing ahead with plans to encourage more private sector companies to reduce their foreign workforce in favour of Saudis.

Roughly nine in ten employees of private firms in Saudi Arabia are expatriates, according to official estimates. Foreign workers, mainly from south or Southeast Asia, generally command lower wages than Saudi staff.

The kingdom needs to create 3m jobs for Saudi nationals by 2015 and 6m jobs by 2030, Labour Minister Adel Al Fakeih said last year.

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