By Andy Sambidge
Labour minister calls on employers to remove misconceptions about Saudi workers
Saudi Arabia's Labour Minister Adel Fakeih has called on employers to remove misconceptions about Saudi workers in a bid to make the new phase of Saudization a success.
He blamed “inherited negative convictions” for the failure of the kingdom's jobs policy for getting more Saudi nationals working in the private sector.
“Although the number of Saudis among the private sector work force is meagre, their success stories provide good tidings about a bright future as it would make the labor market more Saudi friendly and help it achieve sustainable development,” he said in comments published by Saudi daily Arab News on Monday.
Fakeih stressed the need to create a conducive atmosphere for Saudization by promoting a culture of work among Saudis, enhancing their production efficiency and increasing their participation in development projects.
“Employers dealing with Saudis on the basis of stereotypes is one of the major challenges facing Saudization endeavours,” the minister was quoted as saying.
“These stereotypes have developed a kind of enmity between employers and Saudi workers.”
Under the country's new Nitaqat system, companies are to be labelled “green”, “yellow” or “red” depending on the number of Saudis working for them.
Companies in the “yellow” category will not be able to extend their foreign employees’ work visas beyond six years while “red” companies will not be able to renew their foreign workers’ visas at all.
“Green” companies will be entitled to a number of benefits, such as expedited services for foreign workers’ visas and the ability to change the job categories of foreign workers into job categories reserved for Saudis.
Fakeih was speaking at an event to launch a ministry campaign which aims to remove misconceptions and stereotypes in the labour market, the paper said.
The ministry’s campaign targets three groups — owners of companies, human resource managers, and Saudi jobseekers.
The campaign also encourages Saudis to improve their capabilities and skills as well as productivity to win the satisfaction of employers.
It also aims to remove the negative attitude of some Saudis towards some professions.