Reconstructing Saudi Arabia's demographics hits its construction sector really hard
The ongoing inspection raids have phased out 100,000 of the 200,000 contracting firms registered with the country’s chambers of commerce, local media reported.
The contracting sector is facing enormous challenges since contractors were set to implement projects estimated at SR3 trillion by the year 2020.
Such developments have made the transfer of experience to Saudi young cadres essential, notably in the wake of correction campaigns currently under way.
Raid Al-Oqaili, vice chairman of the Contractors and Ready-mix Concrete Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), stressed the need to develop a mechanism for conducting continuous training and career development, which will facilitate the transfer of expertise to young Saudis and help enhance productivity standards.
Al-Oqaili said age is immaterial in the engineering and technical vocations since there is little physical effort required for the job and that the extensive expertise of seniors, who are sometimes above the age of 70, is indispensable.
He also said that the monopolization of projects and expertise is a natural phenomenon since there are no laws to dictate the transfer of skills. “Fresh graduates entering the labor market should therefore double their efforts to prove their efficiency,” he said.
Young Saudis are reluctant to work in this sector, notably in technical roles, due to the difficult working conditions and have instead opted to work in support areas and undertake administrative and menial tasks, he said.
Rashid Al-Zahrani, head of the Technical and Vocational Training Center in Makkah, said there are professions that are related to the contracting and construction sector, such as architecture, civil engineering, land survey, for which courses are available at technical colleges and institutes.
Amal Shira, deputy chairman of the Human Resources Committee at the JCCI, stressed the need to determine the work duration of non-Saudis across sectors to ensure transfer of know-how to Saudis.