May 18 2012
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Saudis need to acquire professional certificates
According to the Nitaqat program, companies are required to increase the percentage of Saudis on their payroll to more than 25 percent. To comply with that demand, companies are forced to let go a large number of foreign employees and hire new Saudi staff instead.
Expatriate employees in the Kingdom have a long experience and know how to manage major businesses. Therefore, Saudi companies have a hard time letting them go.
The Nitaqat program needs job-seeking Saudis to increase the percentage of Saudization in the private sector. However, Saudis need to obtain professional certifications instead of focusing on undergraduate degrees, so they can perform on the same level as the expatriates who have been working in the private sector for a long time.
Many companies currently seek specific certifications in the staff they are employing. The PMP (Project Management Professional) has a widely accredited credential. Traditional certifications, such as bachelor's degrees, do not encourage companies to hire new Saudi employees.
Mahmoud Awad, a human resource manager at a construction company said: "The secret of the expatriates' success in the Kingdom is that they are more qualified than Saudis. Expatriates know the company's needs for highly qualified employees very well. Therefore, they develop themselves through professional business courses before coming to Saudi Arabia for work."
Many companies will have to train job-seeking Saudis and help them enhance their skills to meet the standards of expatriate employees."For instance, in accountancy, many companies look forward to hiring people who bring professional qualifications to their business area. The best way to ensure your chances to work with a major company is to earn a PMP credential," Awad added.
Salem Marwan, an expert in corporate business said: "More than 65 percent of professional expatriates are working in Saudi companies. More than 50,000 Saudi graduates are expected to seek jobs in the private sector. Companies will face big problems when they try to apply the Saudization system. Some companies might also not be willing to spend more money in training job-seeking Saudis."
"The Saudi labor market has changed. It currently needs more professional certifications in the business area than undergraduate degrees. Expatriates have these professional certifications and they focus on developing their business skills," Marwan added.Mohammad Abdul Al-Salam, a Saudi marketing manager, improved his skills by obtaining an MBA at the University of Liverpool.
"The British universities offer strong education programs in business administration. Many companies are interested to hire employees who have an MBA from British universities," he said.
"I have to spend more effort to meet the standard of the expatriates. Saudi employees should focus on obtaining professional certifications to prove themselves in the business area," added Al-Salam.
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