Saudi Arabia Needs More Women in Leadership Positions: Study

Published June 10th, 2017 - 02:14 GMT
Saudi women are still segregated from men in many walks of life. (Fayez Nureldine/ AFP)
Saudi women are still segregated from men in many walks of life. (Fayez Nureldine/ AFP)

Some 75 percent of Saudi companies believe that the productivity and skills available with Saudi women is the primary driver for hiring women in the Kingdom, according to a study published on Sunday.

Sponsored by “Our Youth our Future” program and the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Riyadh, Glowork and AccountAbility launched a study on women’s contribution in leadership and management in the Kingdom.

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While 50% of survey participants report that women make up more than 15% of their workforce, an underrepresentation of women in management and leadership positions is evident, as 50% of survey participants also have less than 1% of women in leadership roles.

This aligns with the National Labor Force Survey that illustrates that 3.2% of employed Saudi women reach management positions.

The researchers further investigated the drivers behind the employment of women. Diversity and inclusion motivations appear to be why most organizations support women advancement into management and leadership positions; this was a driver for more 42% of participants.

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With regard to existing structures to help women advance into senior positions, companies are increasingly providing professional development structures for female employees, with business travel opportunities and formal management training and development implemented by close to 59% of the survey participants.

Khalid Alkhudair, the CEO of Glowork, said, “The study comes at a time where women are strongly competing for leadership positions and in line with the government’s vision. This study will assist the private sector in their decision making going forward when it comes to inclusion and hopefully women at the board levels.”

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