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The Saudi Labor Market and its Problems - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Not one week passes without Saudi newspapers covering the latest on the employed mechanism for recruiting Saudis into various professions. There is still talk on the subject, however with no tangible achievements apparently because such talks are not based upon a clear strategy that is capable of finding a long-term solution.

A study tackling the factors that affect the employment of young Saudis showed that there are a number of obstacles that cause a lack of employment opportunities. The study was carried out by Dr Ahmed al Shamiriri, a professor of business administration at the Al Qaseem University.

Firstly, I must highlight that the field study used 425 samples and the group consisted of four categories; final-year students majoring in administrative sciences in Saudi universities, faculty staff and equally qualified experts, recruitment offices in Saudi and finally, private sector companies in Riyadh.

The findings that the researcher had presented showed that the main reasons were extremely frustrating because despite being highlighted, they have been overlooked deliberately without anybody searching for a solution. These reasons include: a lack of correlation between curricula and the needs of the labor market, a lack of practical use of computers, lack of mature thinking amongst graduates, lack of student development programs in the curriculum, the absence of applied curricula in universities, low salaries in the private sector in comparison to the assigned jobs, the inability to master the English language and so on…

Al Shamiriri concluded that there were 44 elements that could be categorized under nine main factors, the most important of which included the values of the job, government procedures, higher education, state education and social outlook. He also found that the most important offered solutions and suggestions would be paying closer attention to learning the English language, developing student skills during state education and university, offering free training sessions for youth in university through scholarships offered by the Human Resources Development Fund, in addition to strengthening the link between the private sector and various divisions of education, whether state or higher education. Furthermore, there was a proposal to create and sponsor student guidance divisions in universities and to expand the role that they play in running programs, to fill in the gaps made by the curriculum and to qualify graduates for the labor market.

What is noticeable about this study is that unlike previous studies, it does not focus upon one or two elements, especially as the problem is related to a number of causes, which must be studied in order to achieve a balanced and accurate analysis. This study highlighted the level of complexity regarding Saudi employment and that the frustrating causes of this problem are related to educational, cultural, social, economic and media aspects.

This study and others like it must offer new ideas that could present an opportunity for change, especially considering the need for jobs in the Saudi labor market and the need to find qualified youth who can take life seriously particularly due to Saudi Arabia joining the World Trade Organization. The five faculties that are to be opened as announced must avoid the mistakes of other universities and should be more capable of producing qualified graduates with the adequate tools for the labor market.

Mohammed Al-Jazairy

Mohammed Al-Jazairy

Born in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Al-Jazairy is the only accredited journalist to address issues such as education, unemployment, special needs, religion and social behavior among today's Saudi youth. With his personal experience of Saudi culture and society, Mr. Al-Jazairy has been popular amongst young Saudis and the older generations for his emphasis on the development and well-being of the adults of tomorrow.

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