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Local workforce participation rises in Saudi Arabia

Saudization efforts pay off as locals fill 34% of operation and maintenance jobs

Local workforce participation rises in Saudi Arabia
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Saudi Arabia’s localization programs are reshaping the workforce landscape, empowering Saudis across diverse sectors.

The kingdom’s push to localize jobs is paying off, with Saudis now holding 34% of positions in the crucial operation and maintenance (O&M) sector.

This surge is a win for the Labor Localization and Maintenance Contracts service initiative, a program credited with placing over 160,000 Saudis in O&M jobs since 2019.

The initiative targets public entities and businesses with government ties, aiming to boost nationalization rates while honing Saudi skills and efficiency. Its recent expansion covers all establishments with government contracts or majority state ownership, impacting a wider swathe of the economy.

This comes from a December 2023 decree nationalizing several professions, including sales, procurement, and project management. This move eliminates grace periods for these roles, further accelerating the localization drive.

The ministry plans to mandate a 15% nationalization of sales professionals, wholesale managers, and IT equipment salespeople as part of this ongoing effort.

Minister Ahmed Al-Rajhi lauded the program’s success, highlighting its role in creating over 500,000 private-sector jobs for regional nationals since 2019.

He further celebrated surpassing the 2030 target for female workforce participation with a remarkable 36% female contribution achieved in 2022, two years ahead of schedule.

Now accepting applications for Fast Company Middle East’s Best Workplaces For Women 2023. Click here to register.

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