Saudi families find most maids unskilled

Updated 27 August 2013
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Saudi families find most maids unskilled

A study conducted by the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue has revealed that 70 percent of those surveyed in the domestic workers sector lack suitable labor recruitment fees. The findings come at a time when the Ministry of Labor is looking at reducing prices for hiring domestic workers from abroad.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Labor Wednesday, agreements entered into between the ministry and a few countries mandated that they send domestic workers with required skills. Additionally, these workers should have no criminal record in their home country, should be well trained and well-informed about Saudi regulations. The ministry is working to expedite the arrival of these domestic workers to the Kingdom.
The survey also revealed that 69 percent of people feel that domestic workers in Saudi Arabia do not possess training to be able to work in Saudi homes. A survey on domestic workers in Saudi homes showed that Saudi households prefer workers from Indonesia, with 27.5 percent of respondents seeing Indonesians as ideal domestic workers and another 17.3 percent viewing Filipinos as best suited to work in Saudi society.
“Indonesian maids usually speak Arabic, which makes it easier to communicate and teach them,” according to Bayan Rashid, a stay-at-home mother. “Indonesian maids are Muslim, so we share the same traditions and beliefs. This makes it particularly easy for us to trust them with our children and our homes because they are raised to be respectful and loyal to other Muslims.”
The study also revealed a lack of trust among community members toward the level of training provided to domestic workers prior to their arrival at the Kingdom, with 69 percent stating they were dissatisfied by the training provided to workers, while only 18 percent of people believe that domestic workers are trained well enough to efficiently carry out duties.
“They are clueless; they don’t know basic cleaning methods,” said Lamya Hammad, a stay-at-home-mother.
“As soon as we receive a new maid, I know I will have to spend at least three months teaching her how to clean and cook. I sometimes wonder how she's even called a maid when she doesn’t know how to be one,” she added.
The study ensured covering a diverse array of respondents in terms of region, gender, education level, age, and number of family members.
In all, 1,000 people were surveyed as representatives of the majority of society. Participants stressed the impact of domestic workers on the education of children in the family, indicating the dangerous impact of youth employment and the impact of such employment on the habits and behavior of the community in future.
Seventy-six percent of respondents agreed that domestic workers had a huge impact on raising children and 70 percent of participants expressed that the majority of Saudi families have become too reliant on household workers, while 46 percent attributed this increased use of household labor to increase in the number of housewives going to work. About 23 percent of participants felt the large size of Saudi families was also one of the reasons for hiring house-help.
“Many Saudi families trust their maids and nannies with their children and leave them alone for hours. Little do they know that those maids are capable of teaching the children bad habits and words that is not acceptable in our religion and our society,” said psychologist Huda Hussien.
“Parents should know better than leave their children with strangers, because maids are supposed to help the mother and not be the mother,” she added.
Around 42 percent of respondents were neutral in their views about the improvement of recruitment companies, as they felt they did not have enough information to agree or disagree, while 20 percent saw that recruitment fees are somewhat acceptable and 57 percent responded that salaries of domestic workers were given on time and without delay.
Thirty-one percent of respondents felt housemaids were deprived of their one-day weekly off.
Ethiopian maids are the least favored among Saudis after the series of incidents reported in local media, according to Abu Omar, a manager at a recruitment office in Jeddah.
“Saudis have stopped requesting maids from Ethiopia in the last three months after hearing about the disturbing incidents that have been filling the newspapers,” he said.
“We also have people returning their maids to the office asking us to take them back in exchange for maids from other countries,” he added.
The King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue has allocated an exclusive unit to conduct such surveys at the headquarters of the center. The center frequently launches and conducts such polls, seeing that they are crucial in measuring public opinion and views about issues that affect society and that are of interest to community members.


Saudi Crown Prince calls for decisive international position against Iran: interview 

Updated 11 min 52 sec ago
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Saudi Crown Prince calls for decisive international position against Iran: interview 

  • Talking to Asharq Al Awsat, Mohammad Bin Salman says Kingdom doesn’t seek war but will defend itself against threats 
  • Says killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was “painful crime” and that strategic ties with US are key to regional stability 

JEDDAH:  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday said Saudi Arabia does not seek war but will also not shy away from confronting any threats.

He called for a decisive international position against Iran and said the regime in Tehran didn’t even respect the presence of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe when it attacked two tankers, one of them carrying the Japanese flag. 

The crown prince’s comments came in an interview with Arab News’ sister publication Asharq Al Awsat.

The heir to the Saudi throne said the Kingdom will continue to support Sudan and wishes nothing but good for Yemen. However, Saudi Arabia would never accept having a militia serving the Iranian agenda at its border, he said. 

He also described the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “very painful crime.” He added that the Kingdom seeks to achieve full justice and accountability. 

As for the Aramco IPO, the crown prince says it is expected to occur at some time between 2020 and the beginning of 2021. 

(Full transcript to follow)