Five things to know about employment in Saudi Arabia
Unemployment figures are falling as Saudi Arabia continues its reform drive.
Youth employment on the rise: Figures from Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics show that the number of unemployed young people – those aged between 20 and 24 – in the kingdom fell from 42.7 percent in 2017 to 36.6 percent in 2018. Tackling youth unemployment is one of Saudi’s main goals. Women stepping up: Government statistics show that the participation of women in the labour force continues to grow. According to Jadwa Investment, female labour force participation rose to 20.2 percent in 2018, up from 19.4 percent in 2017, with many companies interested in hiring women. Expat employees decline: Data also shows that the number of foreign expats in the Saudi labour market has fallen by around 1.6 million since the beginning of 2017, with around one million leaving the market last year alone. The greatest decline was found to be in the construction sector. New sectors emerging: Over the next few years, a significant number of Saudis will be employed in nascent local sectors such as entertainment centres, cinemas and tourism. Saudi Entertainment Ventures alone is expected to create 22,000 direct jobs through 20 planned projects. Government help: The Saudi government has distributed over $111m to 284,000 nationals as part of its job-hunting initiative TAQAT that helped employ 13,910 young Saudis. On average, Saudi cities received around $400 in March from Saudi’s Human Resources Development Fund.