Saudi women form small percentage of work force

Saudi women form small percentage of work force
Updated 07 September 2016

Saudi women form small percentage of work force

Saudi women form small percentage of work force

JEDDAH: Saudi women make up only 10.1 percent of the Kingdom’s work force.
Overall women in the labor force constitute 16.8 percent, according to the Labor Force Survey for the second quarter of 2016, released by the Saudi General Authority for Statistics.
Men make up 83.1 percent of the work force; of that number, 35.6 percent are Saudi and 47.5 percent are non-Saudi.
The total work force in Saudi Arabia — Saudis and foreigners — is 12,385,279. The total population is 31,015,999.
The survey shows an 11.6 percent unemployment rate among Saudis; women are 64.1 percent of unemployed Saudis and they are only 16.6 percent of employed Saudis.
According to the survey, 54.9 percent of unemployed Saudis have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Khaled Barboud, human resources manager at Saudi Research and Publishing Company’s Jeddah branch, said: “Transportation and the work environment are key reasons for the low numbers of women in the work force.”
“Some working women have to take a cab to work everyday because they have no alternative,” he said, adding that some women were not able to afford such a daily expense.
“Some work environments might not be comfortable for Saudi women for a number of reasons,” he said. “Some companies make no effort to make the work environment suitable for women; some companies prefer hiring men as they think men are better at handling long working hours and working under pressure.”
Riham Soliman, a Saudi woman who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pre-school education three years ago, has been searching for a job since the day she graduated.
“I have applied everywhere, schools, banks and even some local government offices,” she said. “Most of the jobs that I have applied for have not even responded to my application. One school I applied to offered to allow me to work for free with no promise of getting hired.”
The only job Soliman got was at a private school that paid such a low salary that she felt she was being exploited so she left.
The school explained the low salary by saying that the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) did not support it.
Another Saudi woman, Nahla Al-Ibrahim, said she had graduated from university four years ago and had not found a job although she is a licensed nutritionist.
Al-Ibrahim said she had worked in three different jobs since graduation.
One job was as an auditor in a currency exchange office for three months. She said she had to leave because of “mistreatment from some of my co-workers.”
She also worked as a customer service representative in a construction company for a year, but she left “because they did not offer me a clear career path or job security.”
She is currently working on a contract basis for a bank as a customer service representative but for a relatively low salary.