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Key Statistics in the Current Saudi Job Market

Saudi Arabian Job Blogs

In a July 2016 report on the Saudi Arabia Labor Market (BMI), experts and analysts concluded that domestic "businesses face substantial and growing risks to finding suitable workers in Saudi Arabia. While companies have often relied on importing foreign labour to meet skills shortages and keep costs low, this is becoming more difficult as the government increases its intervention in the labour market to support employment of Saudi nationals."

With an estimated increase in the Saudi working age population to nearly 18 million by the year 2025, there is an estimated 226k new Saudi residents eligible for employment each year, and over the next decade.

A 2015 report on the labor market in the kingdom (from Susris) indicated that the employment rate dipped slightly during the year (by .1% to an average 11.6%) and that growth in the private sector continued, though hiring levels were slow. However, this same report described two key structural enablers for growth in employment and labor productivity:

  • Enhanced education opportunities
  • Private sector investment

To this end, the Saudi government has been investing substantially in education since 2000, spending 1/5th of the nation's budget on education. The result is that enrollment in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions has shown marked increase, and a reflected lift in the skill set of the nation's workforce. "However, despite rising university enrolment rates the number of science and engineering graduates remains low, and the Saudi education system, both at the primary and secondary level, places little emphasis on mathematics and scientific studies… Saudi Arabia's education system does not go far enough in providing students with the necessary skills for employers, resulting in skills shortages which require importing foreign workers." (BMI)

Since 2013, though, the government has created new constraints on labor availability, reducing expat populations substantially. Quotas on imported workers and visa restriction programs have created strains on employers in need of suitable employees.

Reports Indicate Positive Outlook

Yet, in light of these factors, many reports have indicated that Saudis themselves believe the job market to be "plentiful". This relates to the trends within the market, in which slower public sector hiring easily concealed the growth in the private sector. This is why experts agree with Saudi residents, noting that it is more likely that high employment with 0% Saudi unemployment is possible due to the Ministry of Economy and Planning's current strategies.

The Central Department of Statistics and Information or CDSI indicates that wholesale and retail are the two private sector employers with the highest need for labor. Because the "Saudization" of these sectors were lower than other areas, the "disconnect" between training and employment is being addressed with further training programs. " According to data released by the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), Student enrollments in vocational training institutions grew by 9.4 percent and 7.4 percent in 2013 and 2014 respectively, reaching 145.3 thousand students. The number of graduates from vocational training programs stood at 28.8 thousand in 2014" (Suris)

In addition to the educational methods for improving employment, the rate of investment by firms in the private sector is also a sign of growth in employment of Saudis. "In recent years, the rate of private sector investment continued to accelerate, with growth in jobs for Saudis lagging behind, while jobs occupied by non-Saudis increased at a faster rate. This trend saw a reversal in 2013, as labor market reforms were stepped up." Private sector investments are also being channeled towards training opportunities for native workers as well.

A breakdown of Saudi employment figures needed to reach 0% Saudi unemployment by 2025 looks like this:

  • 4.2 in the public sector
  • 1.6 in the private sector
  • 2.2 in "new" private sector jobs

The 2014 Saudi employment figures revealed there were 3.2 million in public sector jobs and only 1.6 in private sector employment.

The key stats to know about Saudi job markets are simple - the government is aiming to boost domestic employment, emphasizing education and private sector investment/investors. Between 2015 and 2025 it is anticipated that 84k new public sector jobs will be created annually and 265k private sector jobs (divided between non-Saudis and Saudis alike).



http://www.bmiresearch.com/saudi-arabia =executiveSummary-Saudi-Arabia-Labour-Market-Risk-Report-532405.pdf

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