By Courtney Trenwith
Young Saudis taking advantage of the kingdom’s nationalisation program should be penalised, official says
A senior labour official in Saudi Arabia has lashed out at locals accused of taking advantage of the kingdom’s nationalisation program by refusing to work while being paid.
Deputy chairman of the National Training Committee at the Saudi Council of Chambers, Abdul Aziz Al Awad, said employers were complaining that young Saudi workers were demanding salaries of at least SR5000 ($1330) per month but were not showing up to work because they knew their employers needed to keep them on the books as part of their Saudisation quota regardless of attendance and productivity.
“This inappropriate action by some young men undermines all the country’s efforts for the nationalisation of jobs and opens many loopholes that are bound to distort the labor market,” Al Awad was quoted as saying.
“This behaviour is counterproductive and takes advantage of the recent procedures in this regard.”
Al Awad suggested establishing a Nitaqat grading system for employees similar to the traffic light system used to categorise employers according to how well they meet the kingdom’s nationalisation quotas.
Under the Nitaqat system, introduced in 2011, firms are rewarded or punished according to how well they meet quotas for the number of Saudis on their payroll.
Al Awad said a similar program for citizens working in the private sector could help reduce the undisciplined behaviour of some Saudi workers. Employees would be categorised according to their discipline and performance.
“Employees whose performance and discipline are outstanding should be categorized in the green zone, those who are less in the yellow and those who are frequently absent from work and exhibit poor work performance in the red,” Al Awad said.
The Ministry of Labor should impose penalties and sanctions on employees violating the system, including axing subsidies they receive from the Human Resources Fund and eventually banning them from employment.
“This is bound to achieve discipline,” Al Awad said.
He said a crackdown on Saudis demanding over-the-top salaries was particularly needed in industries with staff shortages, such as health and engineering.
“Such sectors should not be under the pressure of bargaining by Saudi youths who demand that they get their salaries while sitting at home at a time when the private sector badly needs to achieve the goals of the country’s leadership concerning the nationalisation of jobs,” Al Awad said.
Nationalisation programs are in place in most Gulf states and are commonly criticised by the private sector, which claims locals take advantage of the system.
Well done Mr. Abdul Aziz Al Awad, highlighting a recognising problem is the first step required to correct the problem. The "Traffic Light System" would also act as a motivator to those who are committed to their employers and would be sought after by employers. Those with amber ratings would be avoided by employers in order to keep their companies productive.
In the interest of developing the labour force, the national economy and the development of individuals this should be implemented with vigour.
Good job Arabian Business.com for reporting it and the UAE government for allowing it. But, please do know this is not a phenomena isolated to KSA. In theory "Nationalizational" sound like a viable approach, but in my humble opinion. well not be successful in accomplishing the true goal of substainability and increasing the numbers of Nationals in any of the GCC countries, in the private sector workforce. YOU CAN NOT LEGISLATE MODIVATION. Might be time for a little tough love?
so i guess the problem wasn't the expats after all, what a surprise!
Why I'm not surprised???
You can bring the "horse" to the water.....
Can you make it drink ?.....
It is good to hear for once that some one is not blaming "expats" for this problem as well.