14 September 2016
RIYADH -- The future of Saudi Arabia's telecommunications industry rests in the hands of the Kingdom's homegrown professionals, said Jamal Al Bugmi, General Manager of the Kingdom's leading mobility retailer, axiom telecom.

Speaking earlier before the Sept. 2 deadline for the 100% Saudization of the telecom sector, Al Bugmi said developing and recruiting local talent is key to creating a sustainable national workforce.

"We want to see Saudis contributing far more in the private sector, and axiom will support them every step of the way, just as they have supported us over the last nearly two decades in which we have operated here in the Kingdom," Al Bugmi said.

"However, a communitywide effort is needed to make this a long-term reality. The current government initiative does an excellent job of setting the foundation for a Saudi-led workforce, but we also need the support of parents and educators to educate, inspire, and encourage the next generation of Saudi professionals to join the private sector."

axiom realized its ambitious goal of hiring 231 new Saudi national staff before the 2 September deadline, on which all companies operating in the country's telecom sector must have reached the 100 percent Saudi employment level.

The challenging talent management target was reached after axiom recently launched a countrywide career development program for Saudi nationals in partnership with the Kingdom's Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC).

"Saudization efforts always pays big rewards for all involved, provided they are properly planned and executed," said Al Bugmi.

"Together with the TVTC, axiom has not only created 231 new jobs for deserving Saudi nationals, we are working daily to change cultural perceptions about work in our telco sector."

The axiom hiring goal is in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 and related National Transformation Program 2020, and follows recent directives by the Ministry of Labor for employers to support a stronger presence of Saudis in the telecommunications industry.

According to the latest Labor Market Update by the Saudi closed joint stock company Jadwa Investment, the Saudization ratio in the private sector stood at just above 20% in 2015. Meanwhile, figures show that the overall Saudi unemployment rate was at 11.5 percent last year. The private sector is expected to be to the main source of new jobs for Saudis, according to the report, supported by continued labor market reform, and changing cultural perceptions.

The leading mobile electronics retailer in Saudi Arabia and the wider GCC, axiom telecom has 75 stores in the Kingdom and is recognized for its unrivalled customer service, having recently opened an experiential shopping concept in several areas across the Kingdom.

© The Saudi Gazette 2016