Nov 17 2011
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Shoura and Saudization
The majority of Shoura Council members voted for a recommendation that obliges the Ministry of Civil Service to prepare a five-year plan to nationalize government positions filled by non-Saudis. Saudization has been one of the issues which both society and the media have focused on over the past years.
The Shoura Council recommendation should be implemented at once in ministries and other government agencies as there are still many male and female Saudi university graduates who cannot find a job.
A glaring fact is that most of the jobs in both the private and public sectors are still held by expatriates while many Saudis remain unemployed. This indicates that something is wrong with the system of hiring even in the public sector. There are many positions in the government that can easily be filled by Saudi graduates.
In the private sector, there might be some difficulty in suddenly replacing expatriates who were hired basically for their skills to do their jobs. But the Nitaqat program is a step in the right direction. Already, many private companies have hired Saudis as the Ministry of Labor has shown that it means business with its plan to nationalize the labor market in an effort to reduce the unemployment rate among Saudis, particularly those who have university degrees.
The five-year plan for the Saudization of jobs, particularly in government offices, should be quickly translated into reality rather than becoming yet another study or academic exercise. It would be ironic if after five years the plan remained nothing but a plan.
The Ministry of Civil Service, which is at the forefront of the Saudization plan in the government sector, should find a way to speed up enforcement of the plan.
The government is a test case in determining how fast the plan can be implemented in the labor market.
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