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Saudi Arabia

Women paid 50 percent less than men in private sector

Women workers in the private sector earn on average SR 2,824 a month, while men get about SR 5,686, according to the Ministry of Labor's 2011 annual report released recently.
“There is a minimum wage. The difference in wages is due to the different types of work. Ministry of Labor regulations mandate that males and females should get equal pay if they are in similar jobs,” said Hattab Al-Anazi, spokesman for the ministry.
Samir Hassan, chairman of the human resources commission at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said the difference in pay was due to the different work done by women, which was mostly administrative. In some cases, a business has to cut the working hours for women because of the nature of their work, he said.
“These numbers are sad. The big difference in pay is due to the private sector's unfair treatment of women, even though they work together. But I think the private sector discounts a woman's pay because she takes maternity leave,” he said. “However, this is no excuse for this big difference,” he added.
“In 2008 there were 50,000 Saudi female employees, which doubled in 2011 to 100,000. If this growth continues, there will soon be many job opportunities for women in the labor market, which will lead to a rise in their pay,” he said.
The report said Saudi women working in the private sector in the Eastern Province earn the highest average salary in the Kingdom, at SR 3,429, while the lowest average wage was SR 1,569 in Najran.
Saudi men in the Eastern Province also earned the most, on average SR 7,841 compared to SR 2,190 in the Baha region.
Foreign women workers also earned the most in the Eastern Province at SR 2,151 compared to SR 859 in Al-Jouf. Foreign male workers earned the most in Riyadh, at SR 1,036, compared to SR 588 in Al-Jouf.
A total of 5,934 Saudi women worked as directors and business managers in the private sector, on the average salary of SR 4,215. The report showed that there were 170 Saudi women working in agriculture, animal breeding, poultry and fishing, earning on average SR 1,783 a month.
There were 1,411 Saudi women working in the mining, oil, gas and quarry sectors. The report showed that there were 18,709 Saudi women workers in the construction sector with an average earning of SR 2,229 out of a total of 99,486 Saudi women workers in various other private sector enterprises.
There were 8,796 Saudi women working in the scientific, artistic and humanitarian fields in the private sector earning on average SR 4,215. There were 26,827 women working in technical fields, with earnings averaging SR 4,474.
The report showed that there were 46,007 Saudi men earning on average a salary of SR 9,959 as directors and business managers in the private sector. There were 2,106 Saudis working in agriculture and related sectors with salaries averaging SR 2,693.

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