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Last Updated:[06-01-2011 01:54:09 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Joblessness Stirs Saudization sans Reflecting on Root Cause

tradenews Saudi Arabias high unemployment rate has once again sparked off an outcry for Saudization after the recent data showed about 43 percent of kingdoms citizens aged between 20 and 24 years were unemployed. The senior Saudi official and some economists have called for freeing the kingdoms employment market from the hands of expats.

The figures by the government statistics and information centre showed nearly 43.2 per cent of the Saudi males and females aged 20-24 years were unemployed at the end of 2009, nearly 20 percent above the 2008 rate. A Saudi newspaper claimed "This comes at a time when nearly 1mn labour visas for foreign workers were issued last year." Around 49 percent of the visas were for jobs in the construction sector while nearly 12 percent were for fishing and farming, 11 percent for trade, 8 percent for the manufacturing sector and 6 percent for communication.

Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz said the kingdom could eliminate its festering unemployment problem by sacking one million expatriate workers. Similarly, a Saudi economist Abdul Rahman Al-Homaid told Al-Riyadh newspaper that non-Saudi domination should end in areas where employment opportunities abound. Another economist Ihsan Bu-Hulaiga said it should regulate the supply of foreign workers in the local job market in such a way that Saudis could find enough employment opportunities.

Although the issues need immediate attention to mollify the disgruntled young jobless citizens, the solution by the high profile official and economists found to be incongruous to the facts. In a reality check the citizens preferred cushy jobs and top posts which they are not qualified for, coupled with higher salaries. The indigenous work force found to be lacking work ethics, competence and endurance in comparison to its expat counterparts.

Besides, the real issue has stemmed from decades of oil riches, which helped Saudis to survive without doing anything for the past several years, and forced the subsequent generation to become idle and eventually incompetent for any work. Nevertheless, the solution found to be that the young ones and youth of the kingdom should be provided with a social environment of education and vocational training, instilled with pride, to do any kind of work.

By Jose Roy

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