Hundreds seek work at job fair

Updated 23 June 2013
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Hundreds seek work at job fair

Hundreds of expatriate workers turned up yesterday seeking jobs on the first day of a job fair organized by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) at the city's convention center.
The five-day “Job Status Correction Fair” saw more than 200 Riyadh-based companies participating. It will be held until Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
An RCCI official said the fair was organized to help expatriates find jobs before the July 3 amnesty deadline. The four countries participating in the fair are India, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines.
The private sector companies looking for personnel were from various industries including construction, food and maintenance.
The official said there was strong demand for construction workers, shuttering carpenters, masons, steel fixers, plumbers, electricians, heavy equipment operators, accountants, and mechanical, civil and electrical engineers.
Personnel manager of the Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Company (SATCO) Mohammed Zubair told Arab News that his company has jobs available in more than 25 categories. “This is for walk-in interviews, we select the candidate on the spot and start processing the transfer of iqamas immediately,” he said.
Surinder Bhegat, second secretary for politics and commerce at the Indian Embassy, told Arab News that some 50 companies have set up stalls at the embassy pavilion. “The response from the workers and from the companies is huge.”
More than 500 workers arrived looking for jobs during the first four hours of the event. “We hope to get more workers and companies coming in the next few days,” he added.
The Indian pavilion also has five counseling desks. “The officers at these desks advise workers how to go about processing their iqama transfers,” Bhegat said. He said around 100,000 Indian workers are going through the process under the amnesty scheme.
Amr Emad Al-Najdi, labor officer at the Egyptian embassy, said the mission has processed around 60,000 worker documents out of his country's 1.2 million work force in the Kingdom.
Endadul Haque, labor counselor of the Bangladesh Embassy, said more than 10 companies have approached Bangladesh workers for various projects. “Most of them need technical and skilled workers and professionals such as accountants,” he said.
Under the ongoing amnesty, a total of 166,480 Bangladeshi expatriates have obtained their documents processed at their country's missions in Riyadh and Jeddah. The documents processed included new passports, renewal of passports, outpasses and 20,000 travel permits. A large contingent of officers from Dhaka have been seconded to assist the missions in Riyadh and Jeddah.
In addition to the consular services offered in Riyadh, the Bangladesh Embassy has also organized consular services in Jubail, Al-Ahsa, Dammam, Al-Jouf, Saqaka and Al-Qassim.
The Jeddah consulate, which has processed 83,000 applicants, has also offered consular services in Khamis Mushayt, Jazan, Najran, Tabuk, Yanbu, Al-Baha and Madinah.
An official from the Philippine Embassy said the mission has already informed its workers and expects a good turnout today.
There were no immigration and labor department officials at the job fair.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.