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Job ad for women train drivers gets 28,000 applicants in Saudi Arabia

Selected candidates will drive bullet trains between the cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Twitter: @SRP_KSAgulf
Twitter: @SRP_KSAgulf

By Reuters

Published: Wed 16 Feb 2022, 9:34 PM

A job advert to recruit 30 female train drivers in Saudi Arabia has attracted 28,000 applicants, highlighting the scale of pent up demand as the conservative kingdom opens up more opportunities to women.

Spanish railway operator Renfe said on Wednesday an online assessment of academic background and English language skills had helped it to reduce the number of candidates by around a half, and it would work through the rest by mid-March.

The 30 selected women will drive bullet trains between the cities of Makkah and Madinah after a year of paid training.

Renfe, which said it was keen to create opportunities for women in its local business, currently employs 80 men to drive its trains in Saudi Arabia, and has 50 more under instruction.

Female participation in the workforce has nearly doubled in the last five years to 33% amid a drive to open up the kingdom and diversify the economy. Women are now taking up jobs once restricted to men and migrant workers.

The Saudi Railway Polytechnic (SRP) is training women to drive trains on the Kingdom’s Haramain High Speed Railway, according to an Arab News report.

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