RIYADH: The unemployment rate among Saudis, which dropped to a record low of 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, could fall even further if the Human Resources Development Fund continues its current momentum.
The contribution of the fund — concerned with resettling jobs in the private sector — in the first quarter of 2023 increased 26 percent to 96,000 people from 76,000 during the same period last year, according to a press release.
The release stated that it also spent SR2.2 billion ($590 million) in the first quarter of 2023 on its supporting programs.
The note further pointed out that 836,000 Saudi men and women benefited from the fund’s training and counseling in the first quarter of 2023, up 29 percent compared to 646,000 beneficiaries during the same quarter of 2022.
Turki Al-Jawini, director general of the HRDF, lauded the Saudi government’s efforts to develop human capital in the Kingdom and contribute to localization.
Localization is a critical agenda in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative, as the Kingdom is on course to diversify its economy by developing non-oil private sector firms.
Al-Jawini further noted that almost 73,000 establishments operating across various sectors in Saudi Arabia had benefited directly and indirectly from the fund’s programs during the first quarter of this year.
On May 21, the fund partnered with King Saud University to launch the Vocational Counselors Qualification Program to improve and develop national competencies in the educational and vocational sectors.
Last January, the Saudi Press Agency reported that the fund helped 400,000 Saudis to get jobs in the private sector in 2022.
Quoting Al-Jawini, the SPA reported that over 1.49 million Saudis benefited from the fund’s training, empowerment and guidance programs and services last year.
It spent SR6 billion on training and support programs in 2022, Al-Jawini added.
The fund has been carrying out several initiatives, including training programs to drive employability among Saudis.
In May, Saudi Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmad Al-Rajhi said the ongoing localization efforts have helped the private sector to employ over 500,000 Saudi nationals since 2019.