By Andy Sambidge
Analyst doubts sustainability of plan to get more Saudi nationals into private sector
Private sector workers in Saudi Arabia could see a reduction in their working hours as part of plans to encourage more locals to work for private companies.
A new committee is to look into the disadvantages that Saudi citizens face working in the private sector, Hattab Bin Saleh Al-Enezi, spokesman of the Ministry of Labour, told Saudi Gazette.
He said private sector employees can expect more advantages, particularly in terms of the number of working hours, days off per week, and number of annual holidays.
"I don’t see this happening... If it did it would be a setback for the private sector and do little to further the cause of Saudi participation in the private sector on a sustainable basis," said Paul Gamble, head of research at Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment.
"In addition, it is preferable to make the public sector more like the private sector, rather than the other way around."
The aim is to see a significant decline in the number of Saudis quitting the private sector to work for the public sector every year, the paper reported.
It added that many Saudi employees in the private sector want two days off in a week, seven working hours per day, and 45 days annual vacation, as opposed to 30 days, and longer Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha holidays like those given to employees in the public sector.
Among other measures the ministry is planning to attract Saudi youth to the private sector is fixing a SR3,000 minimum wage for Saudis.
The programme is expected to be implemented in March, the paper added.
Separately, it was reported Sunday that the Nitaqat Saudization programme was instrumental in generating more than 300,000 job opportunities in the private sector since June last year.
Ibrahim Al-Moaiqel, director general of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), was quoted by Al-Eqtisadiah as saying: “These figures are based on reports that we have received after implementing the programme since June last year."For all the latest industry news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Very funny way to solve the problem. Higher pay and shorter hours for Nationals. This can be made up by forcing the Filipinos and Indians to work longer hours for lower pay?
May I suggest to look at other countries that have dealt with the issue of employment for locals whilst improving the work ethic and maintaining a competitive market (such as Singapore)
OMG talk about rewarding naughty children! The Saudi's have a duty to their own country and if that demands that they work under the same pay and conditions as the rest of the people in the private sector then they should do it. Rewarding naughty children just makes them naughtier than before so if the government follow this track then very soon there will be another concession they will have to give in order to keep the precious national workforce happy. Time to "bite the bullet" now
Well, Saudi culture is different from Singapore's.
Saudi lifestyle generally does not allow for working long hours as people have many obligations and commitments, they also need longer holidays to spend time with families.
As an example, Saudi men have to drive their female family members often as women cannot drive, this takes up a lot of time and so it is logical that they will want to work shorter hours.
You cannot take any country and compare it to another without knowing the inherent differences between cultures.
It's pretty simple - tax foreign workers a proportion of their salary, and subsidise locals a fixed amount, until the numbers are in balance. That way there will still be competition, but the benefits of the country's wealth will go first to Nationals. And I am a British expat before anyone accuses me of being a National...
I understand their concept and I think other GCC nations might want to evaluate the outcome of this to see whether it encourages locals to work in the private sector. However, it will cause jealous rivalry between expats and locals if the holidays and work hours are not equal. Look at some countries in Europe who have similar policies, it may increase productivity in the workplace, maybe we are working too much?
what a load of absolute rubbish, Sultan. If Saudis want their country to be great, they will have to work for it rather than rely on expats all the time.
With regards to your example - let women drive. We're in the 21st century. Don't you think it's time KSA caught up?
Women cannot drive? Oh yes, they can - and many Saudi women drive outside Saudi. They are not ALLOWED to, inside Saudi.
Btw, expats have families too and have a need to spend time with their beloved ones.
So if you feel that is what it takes, then give the same amount of holiday and reduced working hours to expats as well. They will certainly easily adopt to that part of local culture - given the chance to do so.
And for the actual work, you can introduce robots to do the work.
May be that's the way of the future? The government allows the locals to be represented by Avatars - then the real Saudis have all the time of the world with their families - and can have multiple jobs. The income would be sufficient.
Send the expats home, no need to cap remittance transfers - all money stays in the country. Of course, except for the money that many very rich Saudis invest elsewhere or by partying in e.g. Marbella.
Countries in the GULF are heading towards disaster. Spoon feeding populations with free handouts in the form of cancelling of personal debt and free housing to families who routinely are comprised of 6+ children is not sustainable. I am all for spreading Godâ€™s given wealth (OIL) but I believe it should be done through sustainable practices. Let us learn from the developed world, why is it that everyone only aims to go to uni. Trades ppl in other parts of the world get paid well and those jobs are more in demand than Bachelor holders. We need to stop importing cheap labor and develop our skills. If one gulf national is trained and becomes as productive as 6 laborers (take Germany 4 example) then they would get paid as much. #wakeup oil is finite we need to make the changes today.
I will not be here, you will not be here.
I may agree with your reasoning, but this is what they have chosen. Wait for the "jealousy brigade" to charge.
In the meantime you may find interesting to see how Spain managed to destroy its economy in the 15th and 16th century thanks to the endless supply of gold and silver from America.
I believe I maybe living the current version of it right now. I would love to sit down and have a full discussion with ME power elite and normal citizens alike and explain the Paradox of Plenty theory (resource curse). There is a current brain drain no one is talking about and that is of the (usually) foreign educated Gulf nationals who are moving abroad. I point to Bahrain and the number of doctors who have immigrated to USA for example. These people are moving to countries where they may not be earning as much, not have maids/drivers etc but choose to move to America as they acknowledge that in some but maybe not all (we still have time) gulf states are heading on collision course with reality. Non sustainable investments/progress/education = No future.