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Fakeih: Job creation the main challenge

Labor Minister Adel Fakeih listed major challenges facing the Saudi labor sector at the “Talent and Diversity Leadership Forum” in Riyadh on Wednesday.
“These challenges include the creation of new jobs in the private sector, ensuring the right skill level, and exerting efforts directed at the employment of women and the youth,” he said.
The minister said that there is an urgent need to provide jobs to qualified Saudis, emphasizing that there are hundreds of thousands of Saudis graduating annually from prominent universities who are in need of jobs.
He said that the private sector is expected to rise to the occasion and provide employment opportunities for them.
“They have expectations from us. We have to engender an environment receptive to our youth’s talent and inherent skills. Let’s capitalize on their capabilities,” he said.
He added that there is need to diversify human resources at the workplace, across the Kingdom, including in the suburbs and villages.
“However, the Saudi culture is limiting and restricting this vision of diversification. There is diversity in gender,” he said, adding that young people are a “huge resource for change toward development.”
The labor minister pointed out that success in diversification involves both genders, working in various fields such as engineering and other specializations.
Fakeih said: “If there’s a good and encouraging environment, there will be acceptance of diversification because of the ‘richness’ in treatment.”
“But how to achieve this? First, we in the Kingdom must accept and be proud of diversification in our society and in the workplace and try to achieve the vision of the Saudi leadership. There are hundreds of thousands of students graduating annually from prominent universities and there are also hundreds of thousands pf women who are capable and who have expressed interest in working,” he said.
There are also many scholars under the King Abdullah Scholarship Program who have to be given jobs, he added. “We have to employ them and benefit from their education, knowledge, skills and expertise.”
At present, there is an estimated 4 million handicapped individuals in Saudi Arabia, according to Nicholas Watson, managing director of Naseba, the main organizer of the event.
“About 183,000 of them are registered as looking for work and about 100,000 of them are capable of working if they were given proper training and education,” said Watson.
He added that the main obstacle holding back this segment of the Saudi society from seeking employment is the lack of transportation.
Citing statistics, Watson added that the unemployment rates for females and males in Saudi Arabia are 36 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.
“As we move from the information age to knowledge-based economies, we must remember that unlike other assets, no company actually owns its most precious asset and powerful resource, which is human capital,” he said.
He added that in today’s market, talent is in high demand, mobile, and will exercise all its options to fulfill its personal and professional aspirations.
He said that to sustain the growth of an organization or society, human resource strategies must be a priority.

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