’Cheap labor from abroad hitting nationalization’

An Asian labourer restores an old building in the historical UNESCO World Heritage Atturaif district on the outskirts of Riyadh, in this July 13, 2015 file photo.

An Asian labourer restores an old building in the historical UNESCO World Heritage Atturaif district on the outskirts of Riyadh, in this July 13, 2015 file photo.


Affordable expatriate laborers account for 60 percent of total employees in the private sector, negatively impacting Saudi youths seeking to enter the sector, economic experts have said.

Measures should be taken to guarantee employment security, as well as a restructuring of private sector salaries for citizens, the experts were quoted as saying by local media on Sunday.

Abdulrahman Al-Sultan, an economist, said Saudi employees wishing to join the private sector face two main problems — cost differences and cheap labor from developing countries.

About 76 percent of expats in the private sector are illiterate, he said, adding that there is a gap between skills of Saudi nationals and labor market needs, which in turn has led to an increase in the unemployment level in the Kingdom.

Sultan Al-Fareh, professor of accounting at King Khaled University, was quoted as saying that the main factors that have forced the private sector to employ expat workers include low wages, discipline and commitment to the system, as well as their willingness to take on any position or profession.

“If we want to reduce the gap in favor of citizens in the private sector, there must be job security and restructuring of wages for citizens keeping in mind the cost of living in Saudi Arabia,” he said.


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