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Unemployment, and Challenges in Saudi Arabia

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Unemployment, and Challenges in Saudi Arabia

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  • November 3, 2011
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Unemployment, and challenges in Saudi Arabia

Is it not strange to hear of the unemployment problem from the largest oil exporter in the world? The problem of unemployment in Saudi Arabia began to appear at the beginning of the last century. In 1975, "Saudization" was launched as a way of replacing expatriate with Saudi workers for localization jobs, but after 37 years of unemployment is still one of the important topics of concern to citizen. The causes of the problem are education system, labor system, companies and foreign workers.

The first cause of the unemployment problem in Saudi Arabia is education system. In fact, the education system is failing to equip young Saudis with the right skills and young Saudis are not studying the subjects the society needs. For example, about 80% of our college students graduate in history, geography, Arabic literature and Islamic studies and the remainder is for graduating in science, engineering or from the medical schools, which is not covered by labor market needs of these disciplines required. Indeed, there is mismatch between the number of graduates from public and higher education institutions and the needs of the labor market. That is one major reason for unemployment, but it is not the only one.

The second cause is labor system; it is very old and needs to be modified to cope with modern developments. It also has many gaps and it is very easy to exploit. For example, one of Saudization program tools, is to increase the proportion of Saudis workers by 5% per year, but after more than 37 in the program, some companies still have rates less than 10%. In addition, some companies recorded Saudis worker names as a placebo to increase the percentage of Saudization. In short, labor systems contributed significantly to the worsening unemployment problem in Saudi Arabia, which has become the most important causes.

The third cause is foreign workers. The foreign workers are cheaper and more qualified than Saudis...