Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Changing Face of Saudi Job Market

380,000 jobs in 10 months for Saudis thanks to Nitaqat

JEDDAH - Since its implementation 10 months ago, the Nitaqat Program has created 380,000 job opportunities in the private sector, said Adel Fakieh, Minister of Labor, Saturday during a dialogue session at Okaz headquarters. 

"This figure is 20 times what had been previously achieved over the past five years before Nitaqat was introduced," he said.

The minister also announced that a new program called "Jahiz" or "Ready" will be launched and will create job opportunities for Saudi students who have just finished their scholarship programs abroad and returned home.

Speaking to an audience of businessmen, intellectuals and media persons, Fakieh said the Nitaqat Program does not aim to cause harm to any private sector company or business. The program encourages the private sector to hire Saudis and categorizes companies into four zones: Excellent, green, yellow, and red, he explained.

Companies in the excellent and green zones will be rewarded while those in the red zone will be dealt with strictly and will be required to meet Saudization quota, he added. Companies in the yellow zone will be given a grace period to meet the required percentage. 

299,000 Saudis join civil service

More than 299,000 Saudi men and women have joined the civil service during 2012 as a result of new employment programs introduced by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. The figure was announced during the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Saudization: 43% of private sector firms face closure

Khalid Maqbool and Abdullah Al-Husoon

JEDDAH -- Over 40 percent of private sector companies might be shut down if they fail to meet their Saudization targets, Adel Fakeih, Minister of Labor, has said.

Big establishments are expected to achieve 30 to 35 percent Saudization while smaller businesses are likely to achieve seven to 10 percent, Fakieh said during a dialogue session at Okaz headquarters here recently.

"When they (the establishments) do this, they will be categorized as green companies, enabling them to take advantage of the ministry's services," he said.

Commenting on a new program to create job opportunities for newly-graduated scholarship students, Fakieh said the initiative will allow graduates to register their personal information and qualifications before graduation so that employers can study their data and contact them.

Alateeq: Accelerate Saudization process in senior positions
Intensifying Saudization, boosting cooperation between the public and private sectors, and ending bureaucratic delays are the three major steps that should be taken within the coming two decades, according to Abdullah Alateeq, CEO of Watan Pac. With Watan Pac involved in implementing the Ministry of Labor's intensive Saudization plan, Alateeq told Diana Al-Jassem of Arab News that a joint action by Saudi companies to bring together both old and new generations in tackling the problem of unemployment, checking rising prices and encouraging SMEs in a major effort to boost the economy. Rapid change

What changes would make a major impact on the lives of Saudis in the coming 20 years?

Unemployment: We need to be more concerned with major issues like finding employment for our new generations. We have to prepare the Saudi market for receiving fresh Saudi graduates. About 200,000 Saudi students are expected to enter the job market in the next few years. I expect the Kingdom to work harder than ever for bringing unemployment to zero level. The recent statistics showed the unemployment figure at about 1.7 million in the Kingdom. We want Saudis to work in prestigious and highly skilled positions rather than in lower levels. What we have seen in the Kingdom is that the Saudization plan tends to employ Saudis in lower positions.

Industrial boom: I believe that completing the pending industrial projects will lead the country to an industrial boom, thus contributing to a positive economic movement. Budget will also have a positive impact on local markets, especially if we motivate local investment projects. In addition, huge infrastructure projects and industrial cities will help in developing trade and the economy overall.

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