Saudi team visiting Dhaka to formalize recruitment process

Updated 02 February 2015
0

Saudi team visiting Dhaka to formalize recruitment process

A special delegation from the Saudi Labor Ministry which was commissioned on Sunday in a royal decree issued last week will shortly leave for Dhaka to work out the details for the recruitment of Bangladesh manpower, the Bangladesh Embassy announced here on Sunday.
The royal decree announced lifting of the 2008 ban on manpower recruitment from Bangladesh. The skilled workers, both males and females, will be given visas for employment in the Kingdom and children with valid resident cards who have reached 18 years of age will be allowed to transfer their sponsorship to new sponsors under the current labor regulations.
Bangladesh Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Khandker Mosharraf Hossain recently led a seven-member delegation to the Kingdom where he was assured by Labor Minister Adel Fakeih that the ban would be lifted soon.
Fakeih thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for allowing the recruitment of skilled workers from labor exporting countries to meet the labor requirement. The Saudi delegation comprising senior labor officials will assist and advise the officials in Dhaka as to the type of orientation programs to be conducted for the prospective workers from that country.
Fakeih said the labor recruitment from Bangladesh has been resumed on the assurance by the Dhaka government that qualified and skilled workers will be sent for employment to the Kingdom.
Bangladesh Ambassador Mohamed Shahidul Islam in Riyadh welcomed the decision and said, “The re-launch of the recruitment of manpower from Bangladesh will ensure that the labor relations of the two countries will be further strengthened.” He said the opening of the Saudi labor market for Bangladesh was a huge success in diplomatic terms for the South Asian country.
It’s a “major milestone in the diplomatic relations between the two countries,” the envoy said.
Islam said that his government has given a deadline for its nationals to obtain their Machine Readable Passport (MRP) by 2015. Following the announcement, more than 2,000 Bangladeshis line up at their embassy daily to get their machine readable passports.
To cope with the rush, he said the mission has requested all embassy officials to help its consular department to expedite the work.
There are some 1.5 million Bangladesh expatriates in the Kingdom and they all have to get their documents processed, he noted.
He recalled that around 750,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers benefited from an amnesty for illegal workers by the Saudi authorities earlier. Of the beneficiaries, about 400,000 undocumented workers’ passports were renewed and issued while around 350,000 workers, who were at risk of becoming undocumented, were able to change their professions.
In addition to the consular services offered in Riyadh, the Bangladesh Embassy also outsourced its consular services in Jubail, Al-Ahsa, Dammam, Al-Jouf, Sakaka and Al-Qassim.
The Jeddah Consulate further offers consular services in Khamis Mushayt, Jazan, Najran, Tabuk, Yanbu, Al-Baha and Madinah.
Around 100,000 pilgrims come for Haj annually and a large number of Umrah pilgrims also come from Dhaka throughout the year.


How Saudi women are getting ahead of men as STEM graduates

Dr. Fatima Alakeel, cybersecurity expert. (AN photo)
Updated 31 min 53 sec ago
0

How Saudi women are getting ahead of men as STEM graduates

  • ‘Securing a job after the degree remains the challenge,’ says Dr. Fatema Alakeel of King Saud University in Riyadh
  • ‘Saudi women are ambitious,’ says one graduate. ‘We are acquiring high degrees and seeking successful careers’

DUBAI: More and more girls in Saudi Arabia are opting for an education in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and now the challenge is finding them employment, said Dr. Fatima Alakeel, a cybersecurity expert and faculty member at King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh.
“In the Kingdom, STEM-related jobs are limited at the moment, as the economy is primarily oil-based and there are few technical jobs available,” said Alakeel, who is also the founder and CEO of the non-profit Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability Group (CIAG), which focuses on information security training and research in Riyadh.
According to a government report on the labor market situation in the third quarter of 2018, more than 30 percent of Saudi women aged between 15 and 65 are unemployed.
Among them, the highest rate of unemployment is among 20-24-year-olds (more than 70 percent) and among 25-29-year-olds (55 percent).
According to the report, there are 923,504 Saudi jobseekers, of whom 765,378 are women (82.2 percent).
“We have more girls in STEM education compared to Western countries,” said Alakeel, who completed her doctoral degree in computer science in the UK at the University of Southampton in 2017.
According to a report prepared by the Saudi Education Ministry, girls accounted for 57 percent of undergraduates for the year 2015-2016 in the Kingdom.
That same year, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology (IT), mathematics and statistics, and physics.
According to a survey Alakeel recently conducted on social media, “almost 80 percent of (Saudi) girls were keen to study STEM, but securing a job after the degree remains the challenge,” she said.
Maha Al-Taleb, 22, graduated earlier this year with a degree in technology from KSU, specializing in IT networks and security.
“It’s common for girls in the Kingdom to opt for STEM education,” said Al-Taleb, who now works in a public sector company in Riyadh as a junior information security analyst.
“Saudi women are ambitious. We’re acquiring high degrees and seeking successful careers. I don’t know why the world assumes that Saudi women are a backward tribal species who have no say in these matters. This entire perception is flawed.”
Al-Taleb got a job offer immediately after university, but realizes that not all her peers are as fortunate. Women “are facing problems in securing jobs, not because companies don’t want to hire us, but because employment for Saudi youths is a major challenge,” she said.
“In today’s Saudi Arabia, parents are encouraging their daughters to get a degree not just in the Kingdom; they also want them to go to Western universities. It has become a common phenomenon. Things have changed. Women are a crucial part of the nation’s development process.”
Not all women graduating in the Kingdom are as lucky, among them Razan Al-Qahtani. “It has been several months since I graduated, yet I haven’t been able to find a job. It has been a struggle so far,” said the 25-year-old IT graduate. “We have more talented and qualified girls, especially in the field of technology, but there are few jobs available. It’s a difficult situation, but we’re hopeful things will change very soon.”
Al-Qahtani expressed confidence that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan will bring opportunities for qualified Saudis.
As part of Vision 2030, the government has committed to raise employment among Saudi women.
Alakeel said the government is working hard to find a solution, and it is only a matter of time until more such jobs are on offer.
“As per Vision 2030, there will be more jobs, including technical jobs, available in the country. Once we have more jobs, women will eventually get their due share,” she added. According to Alakeel, female empowerment and promotion to leading roles have made huge progress in Saudi Arabia, and this may affect existing STEM job opportunities.
“We’re glad to see Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud becoming the first female ambassador of the country. It only suggests change is on the way,” Alakeel said.
Al-Taleb expressed pride in the way her parents have supported her, saying: “My father isn’t educated and my mother has basic literacy, but both provided me with the education I desired. They want their daughters to be as successful as their sons.”
Like women in any country, the transition from university to the workplace is not always easy, even for young Saudi women with technology degrees. Yet they are not losing hope.
“We realize these are difficult times in terms of employment, especially in technology-related fields, but things will change,” Al-Taleb said. “Saudi women will soon be ruling the fields of STEM all over the country.”