RIYADH: The Kingdom’s drive to localize jobs has been ramped up; just go to various establishments and you will see that jobs previously employing expat workers are now being held by Saudi nationals.
But the Kingdom does not stop there as it continues to look for ways and means to generate employment opportunities for the increasing Saudi population.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) have been involved in generating employment opportunities by holding jobs fairs.
The TVTC also provides training to thousands of Saudi nationals seeking jobs so that they will be more qualified for the positions they apply for.
The nationalization drive seems to have been a bandwagon that the private sector wants to jump onto. From time to time, the local chambers of commerce and industry also hold jobs fairs.
The Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), for instance, has held a series of job fairs with the private sector in compliance with the localization drive of the Kingdom.
Private firms offer employment opportunities to young male and female Saudis who attend the jobs fairs and recruit those who pass the hiring criteria and qualify for the positions being offered.
Even private individuals have likewise pitched in. TV host and author Mohsin Shaikh Al-Hassan has presented the “Jobs on Air” show on the Al-Danah television channel.
Private firms such as Carrefour and Al-Hokair & Tourism Recruitment Group have collaborated in the “Jobs on Air” show by providing employment opportunities to those who have applied.
This is all in keeping with Vision 2030, under which efforts are exerted to cut the unemployment rate in the Kingdom from 11.6 percent to 7 percent by 2030.
The Kingdom will also create more than 450,000 jobs in the non-governmental sector by 2020 in accordance with the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020, which is part of Vision 2030.
The localization of jobs includes practically all positions from executive to managerial, supervisory to clerical and blue-collar jobs in the different fields in the Kingdom, such as the retail sector.
Saudi nationals make up one-fifth the number of workers in the retail sector in the Kingdom. According to Vision 2030, released in 2016, there are only 300,000 Saudis out of 1.5 million workers employed in the retail sector.
The Vision 2030 report said: “We aim to provide job opportunities for an additional million Saudis by 2020 in a growing retail sector that attracts modern, local, regional and international brands across all regions of the country.” The Ministry of Labor and Social Development recently announced plans to limit work in small groceries to Saudi nationals, local media quoted well-informed sources at the ministry as saying.
The step is expected to provide 20,000 jobs in the first year of implementation and plans are under way to attract Saudi manpower and raise national employment rates in high-priority sectors.
Even jobs at shopping malls have been limited to Saudi men and women in accordance with the ministry’s announcement.
The ministry earlier announced a plan to set up national and regional councils to activate public-private partnership and resolve challenges that obstruct further economic growth in carrying out the ambitious plan outlined in the NTP 2020 and in Vision 2030.
The initiative will help support government entities to understand the needs of the labor market and also involve the private sector in designing and implementing nationalization solutions as well as increasing the number of opportunities for Saudi nationals in various sectors.
The establishment of the councils is an attempt to improve cooperation among representatives of the private sector, companies, chambers of commerce and public entities to lay out effective policies that overcome various issues, and to exchange best practices in the empowerment of the sectors so that they can achieve their growth objectives.
The councils are expected to increase cooperation between the private and public sectors and tackle crucial issues involving the number of Saudi workers in the private sector, the lack of a reliable database on private sector workers, low productivity, lack of creativity, as well as the presence of expats in certain sectors.
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