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)

82 percent of those took part in the survey were female (AFP/Getty Images)

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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Posted by: Doug

To everyone saying that this survey can't be representative because it's mostly women who responded....aren't you missing the point?

In case you are, I'll spell it out for you. Saudi Arabia has a huge level of female unemployment with almost nothing being done to rectify the issue.

Posted by: keenobzerver

This is a very misleading article, given that over 82% of the respondents were female. This is not surprising given the nature of female seclusion and isolation in the KSA, not many jobs are "available" for them to apply for, they usually go to interviews with a male relative attending, and will not be allowed to work in a mixed gender environment etc.

How many unemployed men have "never applied for a work" ??

Posted by: Serge

Saudis will not employ females any way and the family is more often than not against the practice of their daughters working, so with 82% of respondents being female this study is flawed. However I would suspect that if the respondents were male, the result would still be higher than the world average.

Posted by: Billy

I think there are some fundamental issues raised in this article that I hope the UAE government is taking heed of during this year of Emiratisation.
1. If the national work force is actually going to be employed in the private sector they actually have to want to work in the first place. It is insufficient for the government to say THEY need their citizens to work...the citizens need to have that same need.
2. It will cripple the private sector if they are forced to employ locals who are insufficiently educated or cannot speak the business language of English. Therefore more pressure should be put on the citizens to make themselves competitive in the private sector.
3. Good move to equalise public and private sector working conditions, and agree everyone should have a 2 day weekend but again it will cripple the private sector if they are forced to give more holidays and pay higher salaries. Reduce govt conditions to match the private sector not the other way round.

Posted by: Tarek

I urge all the expats on this forum to copy the link to this article and through it in the face of anyone telling them to leave or that they are stealing the jobs of the natives !

Posted by: Saudi Engineer

Tarek, a bit hateful are we? Or just overly aggressive maybe? If you would have read the article, or even Glen's comment, or a couple of the comments that came after you, you would realize this is nothing that can be "thrown in the face of" anyone really. The study is somewhat flawed, the headline more so. And I don't think anything should be thrown in anyone's face, nor should the other side be telling people to leave.

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