Young Saudis take pride in doing humble work
A large number of young Saudis have joined jobs that were considered beneath them in the past and are proving that such negative traditions and norms are not an obstacle to their ambitions.
It has become normal to see young Saudis working in men’s fashion shops, restaurants and coffee shops, serving customers to acquire the experience and work culture that will allow them to achieve higher goals.
These Saudis are reflected in the recent data released by the Ministry of Labor that showed the number of Saudis working in the private sector has reached 1.47 million in 2013, representing a 332.2 percent increase from 2012.
This increase was also helped by the ministry’s Saudization efforts and the security campaigns that were conducted against illegal workers, Al-Hayat daily reported.
Many young Saudis are planning to continue their work, despite the low salaries they are paid, hoping the experience they will acquire will allow them to be promoted to higher-level jobs.
The owner of a men’s dress shop, Radhi Al-Nahdi, said young Saudis like challenges and that is clear in their attitudes toward their jobs.
Ibrahim Al-Yami, employee at a private sector company, said he plans to save part of his income to take English and computer training courses and later enroll in college to obtain his degree.
He added that even if he is not able to obtain a college degree, he is confident that he will grow in the company and be promoted to a supervisory or a branch manager position in the near future.
Sales executive at an international perfumes company, Sultan Al-Najrani, said he also plans to enroll in English and computer training courses because promotions are linked to self-development.
He believes there will be no more need for expatriate workers if young Saudis learn the appropriate work culture and acquire the necessary experience.
The owner of a real estate office, Fawwaz Dhaian, said he is enjoying the job security that he lacked all his career life.
He noted that he is receiving a good income and is planning on expanding his work into other businesses.
Secondary school student Ahmad Al-Mehrezi works at a restaurant and had a difficult time convincing his father of the importance of working in addition to going to school.
He said he is acquiring experience that will benefit him in the future but complained of the low salary and lack of benefits.
Accountant at a food supplies shop, Mohammad Al-Tamemi, said he left school for work, and that the city where he comes from actually encourages working more than going to school.
He said he does not mind attending school if he has the opportunity, but added that the long working hours are an obstacle to many young Saudis who wish to complete their school education.
Economic specialist and faculty member at King Faisal University, Dr. Mohammad Al-Qahtani, stressed the importance of promoting a work culture in the private sector among young Saudis.
He pointed out that low salaries are common during the first years of employment but believed young Saudis could venture into franchising that will allow them to open their own businesses.
He added this is even more possible nowadays as a culture of the need to work has greatly surfaced among young Saudis.