Unemployment rate among Saudi women hits 34%

Updated 23 April 2014
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Unemployment rate among Saudi women hits 34%

The rate of unemployment amongst Saudi women in 2013 has been pegged at 34 percent, up 2 percent from the previous year, according to recent statistics issued by the Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI).
The rise in unemployment is surprising given the government’s drive to encourage private companies to employ Saudi women as well as the high percentage of university graduates.
Early this year, Fahad Al-Tukhaifi, assistant undersecretary for development, said the ministry should exert more efforts to employ Saudi women, as the rate of unemployment is still high.
“I don’t think it is the lack of jobs but the introduction of women in new sectors is a real challenge,” said Khalid Al-Khudair, CEO of Glowork, an online platform for female employment based in Riyadh. “Saudi women are entering many new industries, such as the tourist industry, but gradually.”
“In the past two years, with the help of the Human Resource Development Fund (HADAF) and other training institutions, over 160,000 women have been hired in the private sector. This year, there are over 450,000 women working in the private sector,” he added.
Regarding the rate of unemployment, he said, “The only accurate way to measure employment is through Hafiz. That is the only way to find real committed job seekers.”
“However, another reason for the rise in unemployment amongst women is the high percentage of fresh graduates- mostly college graduates and vocational trainees, and probably those who haven’t reached the employment age and that’s why they don’t belong in the criteria,” said Al-Khudair.
Meanwhile, the CDSI statistics also showed that the rate of unemployment among men stands at 6.2 percent.
According to the Civil Affairs Ministry, there are 1.2 million Saudis working in the public sector with women accounting for 38.3 percent.
The study also noted that most Saudi women prefer to work in the education sector as teachers or administrators mainly due to social factors and because the education sector provides the most appropriate work environment for Saudi women. The education sector currently encompasses the highest percentage of Saudi women workforce, estimated at 87.4 percent.
At a recent conference discussing unemployment, Al-Tukhaifi noted, that Saudi women must be encouraged to enter different domains and industries.
“Many Saudi women are heading businesses in the private sector. However, the business sector has not succeeded yet in ensuring women take up jobs in the retail sector. We can only say we have succeeded if Saudi women replace expatriate workers.”
He also indicated that the feminization of shops selling women’s products would be complete by 2016.
Meanwhile, Osama Filali, an economist, said, “It is important to alert the private sector of the significance of addressing the unemployment situation by creating employment opportunities. There is a need to work the system to replace expatriates with Saudis, and to put an end to minimum wage in line with a certificate of employee expertise and the nature of work.”


OIC, MWL welcome Saudi support for Afghan peace

King Salman welcomes Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Riyadh in 2017. (SPA)
Updated 25 min 14 sec ago
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OIC, MWL welcome Saudi support for Afghan peace

  • The MWL also hailed the statement issued by King Salman in this regard
  • On Wednesday, King Salman expressed his hope that Afghanistan would extend the truce that was announced at the end of Ramadan

JEDDAH: Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen has hailed the great interest paid by King Salman to the affairs of the Islamic world and Muslims.

Al-Othaimeen praised the statement issued by the royal court on the truce agreement reached between the Afghan government and the Taliban and stressed its importance.

The Muslim World League also hailed the wise decision through the signing of a truce between them.

The praise came in a statement issued by its secretary-general Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa. The MWL also hailed the statement issued by King Salman in this regard.

Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi ambassador to the US, said on his Twitter account: “KSA will continue to support peace and political reconciliation in Afghanistan, and to provide assistance for efforts to establish a cease-fire that serves the interests of the Afghani people.”

He added: “KSA’s leading role as a leading country in the Muslim world is crucial for achieving peace and stability in the region and the world; which is vital to succeed in efforts to combat terrorism, extremism and violence.”

On Wednesday, King Salman expressed his hope that Afghanistan would extend the truce that was announced at the end of Ramadan.

King Salman said that he followed closely the cease-fire that was agreed between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban and hoped that such a step would be built on by all parties to reach a lasting peace in the country.

“The Afghan people have suffered extensively from long wars and the people of Afghanistan, like all people across the Muslim world, hope that the country turns the page on past discords and opens a new chapter based on tolerance, peace, the renunciation of violence and the protection of civilian life — based on Islamic teachings that call for unity, cooperation, righteousness, piety, forgiveness and reform,” the king said.

King Salman concluded by wishing that Afghans would put aside their differences and embrace peace in the interest of security and stability.