Unemployment in Saudi Arabia Essay

This is an MLA University Essay on “Unemployment in Saudi Arabia”.

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To many people, it does not make sense to talk about unemployment in one of the world’s largest oil exporter. The fact of the matter is that there are many unemployed young people in Saudi Arabia as there are in developing countries. Many factors have contributed to this ever-increasing figure. Some of the causes of the problem are labour system, education system, negative attitude of job seekers, companies and many foreign workers. Failure by the government to put in place measures to reverse this worrying trend has many economic, social and even political consequences.

So, what are the causes of unemployment and poverty in Saudi Arabia?

The education system is one of the major causes of unemployment in Saudi Arabia.

The education system has failed to equip young Saudis with relevant skills and knowledge which are necessary and marketable in the job market. About 80% of universities and college students graduate in social and art subjects like history, Islamic studies and Arabic literature and the remainder 20% graduate in the more competitive fields like medicine, engineering and accounting.In fact there is a big gap between the universities output and the needs in the labour market(Billing). Many of these young graduates cannot find jobs in the industries as they do not have the relevant skills required. The government has failed to put in place policies to coordinate the education sector and the industrial sector.to reverse this trend of unemployment the government has to relook into the education system with aim of marking it market-oriented.it also has to encourage more students to take up sciences as opposed to social sciences.

Technology is another cause of unemployment

Another cause is the labour system which needs to be modernized to meet the new challenges and to keep in pace with the technological development. The system as currently constituted as many gaps and loop holes which are easily exploited by mischievous industrialists. For example, saudization of the labour requires companies to increase the number of Saudis workers by at least 5 % annually, but several years down the line most companies have not even achieved a rate of 10%.This is because some companies manipulate the figures of their employees by changing the names of their employees to Saudis inorder to increase the Saudization percentage. While labour system cannot entirely be blamed for unemployment, it can be agreed that it has significantly contributed to this situation.

The attitude of Saudi Arabia graduates

Negative attitude of the young graduates is also a contributing factor to joblessness in Saudi Arabia. Many graduates are mentally prepared from colleges that they are going to be employed in white collar jobs. This mental attitude is itself a barrier of finding a job where one can rise through the ranks. They are not willing to take up blue-collar jobs which are easily available as they consider them dirty and degrading (Zabarauskaite). What many fail to understand is that some of this jobs offer the perfect opportunities for hand on experience and prepares one for future challenges.it is, therefore, important that this mental attitude has to change if positive strides are to be made in addressing this problem.

Lack of experience

Another issue which has caused a lot of nightmares to young graduates is that of experience. Many companies have in their job advertisement made it clear that they require people with experience e.g. 2-5 years’ experience. This has discouraged many job seekers who do not have the required experience. What these companies don’t know is that experience is acquired through working in the relevant areas of specialization. Instead of giving them opportunities to train and work in their premises so as to acquire the said experience, they have gone ahead to discriminate them on the basis of their experience. This is unacceptable and the government has to take corrective measures to enable the young graduates to get access to industries so as to get the relevant skills and the required experience.

Payment to get a job

Another major issue which has discouraged the young graduates from seeking employment is the recent announcement by the king that it will pay UD 260 to the unemployed. From the political point of view it may be seen as the most sensible thing for the government to its citizen but in the long run it reduces the productivity of the labour force as people tends to like free things. The government instead is supposed to create job opportunities by encouraging investment and setting up local industries. Unemployed young graduates are supposed to be given training opportunities in all government institutions where they can work and get paid as they wait to get employed either by government or private sector.

Foreign workers have caused unemployment to locals

The ever-rising number of foreign workers in the country is another issue which has contributed enormously to the unemployment in Saudi. The main goal for any sovereign nation in the world is securing jobs for its citizens. With seven million foreigners in the country Saudi ranks second to the U.S. in terms of remittance.it worrying that with such remittance only 10 percent of Saudis are competing to get more than 2,000 riyals Hafez program which is offered to job seeking citizens (Madhi). The country cannot afford to brag on the steady rise of foreign investment yet many of these companies’ employee foreigners and rip huge profits which they remit back to their countries thereby robbing Saudi youths of job opportunities and leaving them without experience in their own country. While it is appreciated that foreign labour is cheaper and it has expertize it must be regulated and restricted to enable the Saudis to work in areas where they have skills. Training as earlier pointed is important if the government is serious in letting the Saudi economy to be run by Saudis. There is no doubt that the government has managed to cushion the economy from the adverse conditions of the financial crisis that has hit the word in the recent past. Nevertheless, the economic achievement is not measured by how you attract foreign investors or how big is the supply market but on the ability to provide jobs and feed the citizens.to solve this mystery of unemployment the government has to curb hiring of foreigners and revise some of the investment laws safeguard the country from the threats of unemployment.

Gender discrimination is another factor which has contributed to the unemployment in Saudi

In one if the surveys conducted in 2007 the labour force in Saudi constituted of 85.6 percent of men as opposed to women. While Saudi is making major steps to increase the number of women in the workforce there exist a number of legal, educational, social and occupational factor which have hindered women from fully participating in the labour market (experts). Policy makers in the government departments can no longer avoid initiating major reforms in the labour and education sector to ensure that women have equal opportunities as that of their male counterparts to participate in the economy.in every level the government must put in place a conducive and supporting social and cultural environment to ensure that all the barriers that hinder the success of women.it also has to revamp both the vocational training system and education to ensure that women are better prepared for the job market. Emphasizing and encouraging women to take up sciences, information technology, mathematics and foreign languages and removing of negative gender stereotypes in also crucial. All these measures if implemented will ensure that the labour force is will balanced and capable of meeting any challenges (Al Arabiya Network).

In conclusion lack of employment to many young people has many negative consequences both to the government and the society at large. Many young graduates who are desperate for jobs are easily lured into crimes where they easily become sophisticated criminals. This is a big threat to the stability of the government as it can bring about social unrests like those which have been experienced in many Arabic countries like Libya and Syria. Therefore the government has to put in place relevant policies to address this issue of unemployment.it is said that the future of any nation is in the hands of a well-educated and vibrancy of its young people, therefore investing and empowering young people is the future of Saudi Arabia if it is going to compete favourably with the world’s economic powerhouse such as China, Japan and the US.


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Works Cited

Al Arabiya Network. “High unemployment among Saudi female university graduates.” High unemployment among Saudi female university graduates. Al Arabiya Network, 11 June 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/06/11/220016.html>.

Billing, Solen . “- Education – system ‘failing Saudi jobs initiative’ – Politics & Economics – ArabianBusiness.com.” Middle East Business News, Gulf Financial & Industry Events & Information – ArabianBusiness.com. N.p., 21 Jan. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.arabianbusiness.com/education-system-failing-saudi-jobs-initiative–81050.html>.

Madhi, Salah T. “Saudisation and employment in Saudi Arabia.” Career Development International 8.2 (2003): 70-77.

experts, international . “International Experts – Employment discrimination laws in Saudi Arabia.” home – Open Questions. international experts, 5 Apr. 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.internationalexperts.com/index.php/research/item/employment-discrimination-laws-in-saudi-arabia>.

Zabarauskaite, Rasa. “Positive attitude towards increase in employment of women.” Saudian Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Zabarauskaite,, 8 Jan. 2010. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/2009/09/LT0909029I.htm>.


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