Saudi Arabia’s millennials defy the stereotype

Saudi Arabia’s millennials defy the stereotype
1 / 3
Saudi Arabia’s millennials defy the stereotype
2 / 3
Saudi Arabia’s millennials defy the stereotype
3 / 3
Saudi workers in the 30-34 age group made up 18.5 percent of the Kingdom’s total number of employees, followed by Saudis in the 35-39 age group with 17.3 percent. (AFP)
Updated 12 May 2019

Saudi Arabia’s millennials defy the stereotype

Saudi Arabia’s millennials defy the stereotype
  • Generation Y is no less committed to working than their older counterparts, surveys show

RIYADH: The millennial generation is made up of lazy, quick-tempered job-shifters — or so many people believe.
According to the stereotype, millennials — the demographic born between 1981 and 1996 — get bored too quickly and move from one job to another rather than staying with one company for the rest of their lives.
Search the word “millennials” on Google and the top stories revolve around the idea that they are dependent on their parents, lazy, and unable to manage either their personal lives or finances.
The bottom line is that people think millennials are far from ideal employees.
In fact, extensive studies in the US and UK this year have shown the opposite is true. The millennial generation is no less committed to working than their older counterparts, surveys show. However, because of the stereotypes, millennials are not being rewarded for their dedication.
So what does Saudi Arabia think?
A study by the General Organization for Statistics revealed that Saudi workers in the 30-34 age group made up 18.5 percent of the Kingdom’s total number of employees — the largest percentage — followed by Saudis in the 35-39 age group with 17.3 percent.
Bahaa Bukhari, a millennial who is a university student by day and a comedian at night, said his dream job is to be an actor.
Responding to the commonly held view of millennials as lazy, and interested only in electronics and social media, he said: “It is unfair because we were never lazy. The development of technology and social media made everything effortless.
“Managing your job and hobbies is easy, you just need to be seriously committed and make some simple sacrifices,” he said.

Commitment
The millenial generation has what it takes to be committed to work, Bukhari said.
“If anyone has a talent or a passion they think will lead to something, I hope they keep working on it. You will eventually find someone that will respect your talent,” he said.
Ruba Al-Harbi, 30, is a full-time director of customer relations in the insurance industry but also has a part-time jobs managing a restaurant and as a food taster in other restaurants. She also works as a consultant in the development of restaurant menus. “My talent is to cook and taste food, and discover new flavors,” she said.
“I have a basic rule not to depend on working for others. You should also have your own business — your passion is a necessity. If you love what you do, you will be able to manage between both jobs.”  
Al-Harbi believes that people should be producers rather than consumers. “You must diversify your income, one income is not enough.”
Eithar Abdulfattah and Abeer Al-Abdullateef are both full-time architects and part-time interior designers. The two 24-year-olds created their own company, Line & Dot, “a creative studio where we design offices, residential and commercial projects,” said Al-Abdullateef.
Abdulfattah said the millennial generation has great qualities that distinguish them from other generations.
“We engage with different cultures, we’re interested in giving and volunteering, we are prompt, prefer informal conversations and are eager to work,” she said.
“As a 24-year-old architect and an interior designer, I believe we are forced to be reckoned with,” Al-Abdullateef said.