Most Saudi women seek part-time work

Research found that 87 percent of female students want to enter workforce
Saudi women arrive at a shopping mall in Riyadh on January 12, 2013. Saudi King Abdullah has appointed women for the first time to a top advisory body, with decrees published marking a breakthrough in a kingdom that imposes stringent restrictions on females. (AFP/Getty Images)
By Daniel Shane
Wed 21 Aug 2013 09:38 AM

The vast majority of Saudi Arabian women would work part-time, if the opportunity was given, according to a study.

Riyadh-based female recruitment firm Glowork found that 87 percent of those women surveyed were eager to enter employment. The research, which was conducted among ten universities in the kingdom, found that most were seeking to do so for the practical experience, rather than financial gain.

“They want to work not for financial reasons, but purely for experience,” said Khalid Alkhudair, founder and CEO of Glowork. “I am sure if this survey was conducted for males, the outcome would be different and that’s because in the kingdom, our sons and daughters are financially dependent on their parents and until that changes, the need to work is limited”.

Alkhudair added that new laws and regulations were need in Saudi Arabia to help push female students into part-time work, which could also have economic benefits and increase workforce nationalisation in the conservative Gulf country.

“Countries in the west have their whole retail industry built on part time students. We believe there should be a mechanism in which the Ministry of Labour looks at adapting a salary/per hour scheme which could dramatically increase the Saudization percentages in the retail industry” said Alkhudair.

However, the study also highlighted a lack of mechanisms in the country to help women find employment. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of females needed help when it came to writing a CV, while Glowork also claimed there is a lack of career counselling services in Saudi Arabia. It also noted that many graduates still find jobs based on family connections, rather than experience.

“Universities should strive to teach their students how to professionally network and emphasise to the latter the difference between professional networking and ‘wasta’,” added Fares Bugshan, CEO of DAF Consulting, which helped conducted the research.

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