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Things to know about... Employment in Saudi Arabia

Unemployme­nt figures are falling as Saudi Arabia continues its reform drive


1 Youth employment on the rise

Figures from Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics show that the number of unemployed young people – those aged between 20 and 24 – in the kingdom fell from 42.7 percent in 2017 to 36.6 percent in 2018. Tackling youth unemployme­nt is one of Saudi’s main goals.

2 Women stepping up

Government statistics show that the participat­ion of women in the labour force continues to grow. According to Jadwa Investment, female labour force participat­ion rose to 20.2 percent in 2018, up from 19.4 percent in 2017, with many companies interested in hiring women.

3 Expat employees decline

Data also shows that the number of foreign expats in the Saudi labour market has fallen by around 1.6 million since the beginning of 2017, with around one million leaving the market last year alone. The greatest decline was found to be in the constructi­on sector.

4 New sectors emerging

Over the next few years, a significan­t number of Saudis will be employed in nascent local sectors such as entertainm­ent centres, cinemas and tourism. Saudi Entertainm­ent Ventures alone is expected to create 22,000 direct jobs through 20 planned projects.

5 Government Help

The Saudi government has distribute­d over $111m to 284,000 nationals as part of its job-hunting initiative TAQAT that helped employ 13,910 young Saudis. On average, Saudi cities received around $400 in March from Saudi’s Human Resources Developmen­t Fund.

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