Getting it together? Probably not: Saudi Arabia introduces three new Saudization initiatives
On the second day of the Riyadh Economic Forum (REF) on Tuesday, three major initiatives were proposed to make the Saudization drive a great success as well as to overcome the hurdles in this regard.
The initiatives are: Setting up of a Higher Workforce Authority to effectively implement the Saudization drive, making available more government schemes, and the launching of a national program to improve workplace environment.
The proposals were unveiled as part of a study titled “Labor policies and nationalization of jobs in the private sector,” discussed by the second session of the REF, held under the chairmanship of Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister Prince Mansour Bin Miteb.
According to the study, the Authority will take charge of the Saudization drive for a period of three years. The Council of Ministers and a ministerial committee would draw up the administrative regulations for the Authority.
The study proposed several measures to implement the initiative effectively. These included addressing the current weak coordination between the private and public sectors and activating their partnership on organizational level, updating the legislations and regulations to keep pace with the latest developments, evaluating the regulations to uncover cover-up businesses, and updating government regulations to give incentives to companies and establishments that achieve a higher percentage of Saudization.
According to the study, more government schemes and programs will be introduced to effectively implement the Saudization drive. This will be implemented by the Ministry of Finance through the General Investment Fund, and the Ministry of Labor through the Human Resources Development Fund, in addition to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry over a period of five years.
The initiative will focus on diversifying the sources of income as well as strengthening and expanding the private sector’s potential.
The study put forward some proposals to activate the national industrial strategy and the formation of working groups to identify the economic activities that are helpful in realizing the goals of this initiative.
Stumbling blocks in localization of jobs
A study titled “Labor policies and nationalization of jobs in the private sector” identifies the following hurdles in localization of jobs:
- Apathy of Saudis to work in some trades
- Expatriate bosses prefer non-Saudis
- Saudis feel job insecurity in the private sector
- Domination of expats in cover-up businesses
- Attraction to work in the public sector
- Negative view toward some vocational trades, handicrafts
- Lack of proficiency in English
- Low salary in many private jobs
- Problems to adjust with workplace
- Transportation problems
- Low wage for expatriates
- Dependence of some sectors on seasonal workers
- Tough job conditions in the private sector
- Incompatibility of education and training to labor market needs
- Low productivity
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