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Localization efforts in Saudi pay off with more than 80% locals in the workforce

The first step towards localizing 30% of the consultancy professions and businesses started this month

Localization efforts in Saudi pay off with more than 80% locals in the workforce
[Source photo: Pankaj Kirdatt/Fast Company Middle East]

To ensure the retention of Saudi nationals and their active contribution to building a dynamic and diverse economy, Saudi Arabia is promoting hiring its citizens in private sector jobs and encouraging employers to invest in their future. 

These efforts have been fruitful. Saudi Arabia accounted for 82.2% of the employees in the financial and insurance sectors in 2022, marking the success of the localization efforts undertaken in the country. 

Of the total 91,291 workers in financial and insurance activities in 2022, Saudi citizens comprised 75,001, while foreigners accounted for only 17.8%, or 16,290. 

Gender-wise male workers contributed to 93% of the workforce in these activities with 71,648 workers, and females reached up to 19,643, according to Al-Eqtisadiyah. Among females, Saudi citizens were the majority, with 18,983 workers, while the remaining 660 females were foreigners.

Riyadh region accounted for 78.2% of the workers in these sectors with around 71,387 employees, followed by Makkah with 11,487 workers. Al-Sharqiyah ranked third with 7,202 workers.  

The Ministry of Resources and Social Development took steps to implement the initial stage of localizing 30% of consultancy professions and businesses across the Kingdom in April, contributing to raising the number of Saudi workers in the private sector to over 2.12 million, said the HRSD minister Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, last October.

Al-Rajhi further said that the compliance rate with the country’s labor system and its regulation by the private sector establishments were as high as 98% in 2022, helping reduce the unemployment rate of Saudi citizens to 9.7% and increasing women’s economic participation rate to 35.6%.

The Saudization, officially known as the Saudi nationalization scheme, Nitaqat, initiatives are part of the Saudi Vision 2030 to increase employment opportunities and reduce unemployment rates. 

According to a report by the National Labor Observatory, Saudi Arabia ranked first in the labor force growth rate among the Group of 20 countries during 2012-2021, 

The unemployment rate in the kingdom has gone down to 5.8% in the second quarter of 2022 from 6% in the first quarter of 2022, reported Saudi Arabia’s Central Department of Statistics and Information.

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