Women-only company helps Saudis find jobs


"We launched this project to help qualified and skilled Saudi women find suitable career opportunities in the private sector in the Kingdom," said Banan Abutair, chairperson of ECSA Hire and Higher, the Kingdom’s first-ever women’s employment bureau.

Describing her company as a specialised headhunting agency, she said that ECSA stands for "Empowering Capabilities, Skills and Aptitudes." "We are in the final stages of completing a highly specialised online tool that would enable prospective jobseekers and employers to access our databank for their requirements," she said.

Abutair said that women have always played a major role in the development of Saudi society. "We want to help them play an equally major role in the sustainable development of Saudi economy, which they have been deprived of in the past," she added.

The company maintains a databank comprising over 3,000 women, 70 per cent of whom are Saudis. "Those registered with us are interested in finding suitable placements in jobs relating to administration, IT, marketing, accounts, customer relations, finance and call centers," she said.

She said that last year, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz indicated that with the help of the Human Resources Development Fund around 200,000 Saudi women would be employed in various sectors in the Kingdom. "We are trying to fulfil the King’s expectations in our own modest way," she said.

The company, which has a registered office in the United Kingdom, will set up an office in the Eastern Province to cover neighbouring Bahrain during the second quarter of this year. Another branch will be opened in Jeddah at the end of 2007.

Saima Sofi, executive director of ECSA, said that the company has found placements for over 200 women at companies such as Sama Airlines, Four Seasons Hotel, the World Trade Centre and the Manhal Centre in a very short period of time. "We are also the key recruiting agency for the Saudi Monetary Agency (SAMA) and ABB," she added.

Speaking about employment prospects, Sofi said the most sought after fields for women include the IT, administration, finance, public relations, customer relations and marketing fields.

"We are also planning to provide orientation and training programme for those women who fall short of certain skills and experience," she said.

"We are in the process of identifying key areas of skill and technique shortages and we will be employing the services of experts to develop customised and specifically tailored curricula that we will offer to job applicants and also to our client companies," she added.

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