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Mon 21 Mar 2011 07:00 PM

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Saudization jobs policy has not worked - official

Prince Turki Al-Faisal says another solution needs to be found for kingdom's unemployment issue

Saudization jobs policy has not worked - official
A leading Saudi Arabia official has conceded that the jobs policy of Saudization has been unsuccessful. (Getty Images)

A leading Saudi Arabia official has conceded that the jobs policy of Saudization has been unsuccessful and another solution needs to be found.

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies, said a fresh look at the unemployment problem in the kingdom was required.

Currently, only four million, out of 20 million Saudis, have jobs with 2.8 million employed in the public sector, Saudi daily Arab News reported on Monday.

Speaking at the Jeddah Economic Forum, Prince Turki was quoted as saying: “If we gauge life in the kingdom 50 years ago even with limited resources, we did not have such problems. Today, we are employing eight million foreign workers in the kingdom and still have a problem with unemployment."

He added: “Particularly to balance the equation in my mind the approach of the five-year plan for Saudization has been unsuccessful and we must be frank that we still are searching for a solution.”

Prince Turki also called on banks to provide more loans to small and medium sized businesses that will in turn provide employment opportunities for Saudis.

He said that private sector growth would be the key to preserving the assets of society.

Also speaking at the forum, Gassan Al-Kibsi, managing partner of McKinsey and Company, said: “Over the next 20 years, the standard of living in Saudi Arabia will drop by 50 percent, with many unable to provide for their families if productivity and job creation are not dealt with now.”

Al-Kibsi said that more focus needed to be put on productivity in the private sector where, he said,  2.5 million jobs can be created through mainly small and medium sized companies and the service sector.

He claimed there will be six million more Saudis in 20 years seeking jobs, one million of who will find jobs in the public sector leaving five million to be forced to accept low-wage jobs in the private sector.

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gordon 9 years ago

1950 population 3.2 mio
2000 population 20 mio
2015 population 31.8 mio
expat portion 5.5 mio or 8 mio depends on which statistics you read,

at least the growth rate has dropped from 3.28 pct in 2000 to only 1.53 pct(est) this year.

However it still has a birth rate of 19.34/1000 vs a death rate of 3.33/1000

Literacy 78.8%

They have made huge strides in literacy since 2001.

So pointing the finger at expats only diverts the attention away from the real problem. Yes you can have a short term effect on the unemployment but it does not resolve the demographic problem.
Literacy and population growth. Fix this and it will help resolve the problem. There is a demographic time bomb (which is not dissimilar to other countries), Even getting rid of all the expats is not enough to resolve this issue.

rowena finianos 9 years ago

whatever the decision of the saudi govt. to non saudi ,we should accept it,cos we know that were just a temporary in this place and we should be thankful cos we received what is really due for us.I just only pray that the saudi people should put in there heart the sencerity to serve theyre people,be industrious enough to handle the task that the govt. will give to them specially in the medical field which pts. needs more extra careful care.

rowena finianos 9 years ago

me personally i have no objection that this country should do saudization in all levels of jobs in this country,but they should work hard and be sensititive to the needs of there people, specially those who are working in the medical field,Ive been here in this country for quiet long time and i do really observed how this medical staff work and im sorry to tell they should be more responsible enough to take good care of theyre people ,but on the contrary theyre still some saudi staff really work hard and trying really there best on the field they choose.Anyway im still thankful to the saudi goverment cos it helps me also to know how to value a religion and helps me to give a brighter future for my kids.

Norman 9 years ago

Compare Saudi Arabia with oil to Israel without oil. You will know what is the problem. Without oil, Saudi Arabs may still be living a nomadic life.