Saudi businessmen urged to employ more nationals

JEDDAH — Labour Minister Ghazi Al Gosaibi has urged businessmen to employ more Saudis. He said that fighting unemployment in the kingdom was a joint responsibility.

By Habib Shaikh (Our Correspondent)

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Published: Tue 15 May 2007, 8:54 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:02 PM

"It is wrong to assume that it's the sole responsibility of the labour ministry. The whole society with all its institutions must come together to tackle this national issue," he said this while addressing businessmen at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week.

The official unemployment rate among Saudi men is put at between 9-12 per cent and among women at 22 per cent.

The minister hoped that the next national dialogue forum, which is going to address unemployment and labour market issues, would be able to find a radical solution to the complex problem.

"Unemployment is a complex issue that has no easy solution. We have to find out the reasons and solve them in a scientific manner. Previous solutions were individual views that lacked scientific and methodical thinking," he said.

The minister said that insufficient training was a key factor in unemployment in the kingdom, as well as the tendency of some companies to skirt their Saudi quotas. Under the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Labour, Saudi high school graduates who seek government job-placement services will be required to undergo a four-to-six month training programme through GOTEVOT — the General Organisation for Technical Education and Vocational Training.

The ministry has embarked on a plan in association with GOTEVOT to provide necessary training to Saudi jobseekers, taking market requirements into consideration.

"Our plan is to send qualified job aspirants to private companies to employ them in accordance with their requirements. Job applicants who are not qualified will be sent to GOTEVOT for training," Al Gosaibi said.

Hattab Al Anazi, a ministry official, said college graduates would be exempt from the requirement. "Those joining the programme will be given stipends and be given jobs in the private sector," he added.

Abdul Wahid Al Humaid, deputy minister for planning and development, disclosed plans to restructure the Manpower Development Fund and revise regulations of paying salaries of trainees. "We discussed with businessmen the professions that could be Saudised and its percentage," he added.

Ahmed Al Zamil, deputy minister for labour affairs, spoke about the ministry's efforts to improve working atmosphere at labour offices.

"There is a plan to provide more powers to labour office directors to issue recruitment visas," he added.

Al Gosaibi also emphasised his ministry's desire to meet the labour requirements of businesses and the demands of economic changes in the country. He said there was considerable increase in the recruitment of skilled foreign labour last year.

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