Low salaries keep Saudis away from private sector jobs

Saudis apply for jobs during a jobs fair held in Riyadh sometime last year.

Saudis apply for jobs during a jobs fair held in Riyadh sometime last year.

Saudis are not keen to work in Makkah despite the many opportunities in the tourism and retail sector in the holy city owing to the low salaries. Most Saudis prefer to work in Jeddah where they can be assured of better wages instead of Makkah, where expats represent 60 percent of these jobs.

Meanwhile, Makkah continues to create jobs that could be taken up by Saudis. New projects worth more than SR300 billion are being implemented in Makkah to improve services for millions of Haj and Umrah pilgrims. This includes infrastructure, utilities, real estate and the tourism sectors.

Projects that have been implemented to develop the holy city provide a lot of jobs in tourism and the retail sector. However, most Saudis are not interested in taking advantage of such projects to find jobs.

“The tourism sector in Makkah has been revived due to the high demand for hotels which receive millions of Haj and Umrah visitors every year. Foreigners dominate this sector and occupy 75 percent of jobs that have been created by development projects,” Saeed Nejm Al-Deen, who manages a hotel located near the Grand Mosque, told Arab News.

“But only 20 percent of Saudis work in this sector with most preferring to work in Jeddah despite the numerous job opportunities in Makkah,” he added.

Commenting on the Saudis’ lack of interest to work in the retail sector in Makkah, Rashad Yousef, marketing firm manager told Arab News: “The low salaries in the retail sector prevent Saudis from taking up jobs in this field as they do not cover housing expenses in Makkah.”

Abdullah Al-Ghamedi, a Saudi living in Jeddah said: “The low salaries offered by several sectors in Makkah are insufficient to cover the cost of living despite the work pressure there.”

“The private sector in Makkah must offer better incentives to Saudis to work in the retail sector by increasing the salaries. This will encourage Saudis to come to Makkah and live there,” Ahmed Obaid, a young Saudi said.


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