1.5 million Saudis now work in private sector
There were almost 1.5 million Saudis employed in the private sector in 2013, an increase of more than 332,000 compared with 2012, according to data released by the Ministry of Labor.
This increase is due to the growing need of manpower for economic and social development projects, especially in the construction sector, said ministry sources.
These projects also include the Grand Mosque expansion project and other mega projects in the transport sector and educational establishments such as Princess Nora University.
There was a 16 percent increase in the number of Saudi men employed by the end of 2013 and a staggering 85 percent increase in the number of Saudi women compared with 2012.
“As such, nationalization rates have increased from 13 percent in 2012 to 15 percent in 2013,” said the ministry sources.
“There had, however, also been a 12 percent increase in the number of non-Saudi employees in the private sector by the end of 2013 compared with the previous year. There were 7.3 million expats in 2012 and 8.2 million by the end of 2013.”
“The nationalization program was launched to encourage private sector companies to employ citizens and reduce unemployment rates by integrating Saudization clauses in operation and maintenance contracts and developing mechanisms for enhancing this scheme,” said the sources.
The ministry announced success in achieving its short-term goal of controlling unemployment through these new rules.
“The short–term employment strategy saw more than 750,000 citizens get jobs and exceeded our target figure for that period,” a ministry official said.
Saudization rates in the private sector rose more than 5 percent in 2013 compared with 2009, marking a more than 11 percent decrease in unemployment rates. Of this, female employment accounted for 58 percent that same year.
In fact, female unemployment rates stood at 33 percent in 2013, compared with 35.7 percent in 2012, while male unemployment rates decreased by around six percent during the same period.