470,000 Saudis are jobless, says study


“The number of unemployed men reached 292,905 or 9.1 percent of the total Saudi working men while the number of jobless women reached 176,113 or 26.3 percent of the total working women,” said the study which was carried out last year.

The study estimated the total number of workers in the Kingdom at 8,024,885 including 6,780,550 men and 1,244,335 women. Of the 3,900,589 in the Saudi work force, 3,230,201 were men and 670,388 were women.

The study put the number of working Saudis at 3,431,574, of which 2,937,296 were men. Of the total Saudi work force, 18 percent have obtained a bachelor’s degree and 17.9 percent an intermediate school certificate. Two-thirds of the work force were in the age group of 20 to 39 or 67.7 percent, with men accounting for 64.4 percent and women 83.4 percent.
As much as 95.2 percent of the Saudi work force is educated, with men accounting for 94.8 percent and women 97.1 percent. Among them, 25.6 percent men have obtained secondary school certificates and 59.9 percent women have obtained bachelor’s degrees, the study said.

The non-Saudi work force represents 80.4 percent of the expatriate population (above 15 years). About 99.2 percent of them are employed and only a small number — 0.08 percent — are jobless. Men account for 86.1 percent of the total expatriate population and the rest (13.9 percent) are women.

The majority of expatriate workers are in the age group of 25-44 and 73.3 percent of them are men with 80.4 percent being women.

The majority of expatriates (36.5 percent) work in the service sector, followed by technical jobs (19 percent), industrial, chemical and food sector (1.2 percent). About 41.3 percent of Saudi workers are in the service sector, 1.3 percent in the industrial, chemical and food sectors.

Among Saudi working women, 53.8 percent are involved in scientific, technical and humanitarian works. About 35.1 percent of expatriate workers are engaged in basic engineering professions while 28.2 percent are maidservants and 1.2 percent are managers, the study pointed out.

Unemployment among Saudi women is the highest and the government has taken steps to address this issue by increasing job opportunities for them in new areas apart from the traditional sectors of education and health care.

The current statistics of the labor market by nationality (Saudis versus non-Saudis) indicate that 32.6 percent of the national workers are employed in service jobs, while 39 percent of non-Saudis are employed in the production and transportation sectors, with 28.4 percent of non-Saudis working in the service sectors.

The eighth five-year development plan (2005-2009) aims to increase the percentage of women in the Saudi work force from 5.4 percent to 14.2 percent. The plan places greater emphasis on the potential role of women in the economy and the need to create more employment opportunities for them.

The plan perceives an increased share of the national work force in total manpower (both employed and unemployed) from 36.9 percent in 2004 to 39.2 percent in 2009, along with continued efforts to raise women’s participation rate from 10.3 percent at the beginning of the plan to 14.2 percent by the end of the plan.


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