Recruitment of 1.2m expats ‘defeating Saudization drive’

Updated 08 October 2014

Recruitment of 1.2m expats ‘defeating Saudization drive’

The annual recruitment of nearly 1.2 million foreign workers has hampered the Kingdom’s nationalization initiatives, said Saudi economists and experts, while urging the government to review its recruitment policy.
“We recruit about 1.2 million foreign workers annually at a time when we have more than a million Saudi job seekers,” said economist Abdullah Al-Maghlouth. “It is a big challenge for the government to find jobs for more than a million unemployed Saudis,” he added.
Saudis account for only 15 percent of jobs in the private sector, with expats taking the lion’s share of 7.5 million while citizens holding 1.4 million jobs.
The Labor Ministry claims that it has created jobs for 750,000 Saudis during the past three years through the Nitaqat nationalization program.
“A foreigner may be ready to work for 12 hours daily for low salary and Saudis would not be able to compete with them. This is the main reason for private companies hiring expats,” Al-Maghlouth said. He added that Saudi Arabia has been spending billions of riyals every year on manpower development through education and training. “Still, we don’t see results from this investment.”
Essam Khalifa, another economist, called for a qualitative improvement of the Saudi labor market to increase the demand for Saudi workers compared with expats. “Saudis should be ready to take on any job and they should be given proper training to compete with foreigners,” he added.
Pointing to the crux of the problem, Prof. Habibullah Turkistani of King Abdulaziz University said the private sector prefers cheaper foreign labor to inexperienced Saudis, who demand higher salaries. “Saudi workers should be given a minimum salary of SR3,500 because of rising living standards and increasing prices of goods and services.”
He expressed dismay over the private sector’s neglect of national manpower despite various government incentives. “The Human Resource Development Fund has offered to pay 50 percent of Saudis’ salaries for three to four years,” he pointed out.


Cinema investment in Saudi Arabia set to hit SR5bn in 2020

Updated 24 min 19 sec ago

Cinema investment in Saudi Arabia set to hit SR5bn in 2020

  • Saudi conference study reveals 140 cinemas planned for Kingdom creating estimated 5,300 jobs
  • One of the main goals of the Vision 2030 reform plan was to increase household spending on domestic entertainment from 2.9 percent to 6 percent of total expenditure

RIYADH: Investment in building new cinemas in Saudi Arabia was expected to top SR5 billion ($1.33 billion) during 2020, according to latest figures.

Data published ahead of the Cinema Build KSA 2020 conference, taking place at the Fairmont hotel in Riyadh on Feb. 19 to 20, revealed that 140 movie theaters were planned to open in 30 malls throughout the Kingdom, creating more than 5,300 job opportunities.

The Saudi cinema industry would see enormous growth and was set to become the leader in the region having already gained attention from stakeholders around the globe, research from conference partner Great Minds Group predicted.

With a total of 1,323 screens planned for the country, demand for materials and resources to build cinemas has increased dramatically.

The Cinema Build KSA report revealed that an estimated 158,760 cinema seats and more than 5,953,500 square feet of carpet would be required to realize this year’s growth plans, in addition to more than 18,852,750 square feet of gypsum boards, wall panels, and specialist ceiling materials and 1,250 air-handling units.

One of the main goals of the Vision 2030 reform plan was to increase household spending on domestic entertainment from 2.9 percent to 6 percent of total expenditure, considering that Saudi nationals spent about $30 billion annually on tourism and entertainment outside the Kingdom.

Supporting and enhancing the fast-growing cinema sector would not only recover Saudi investments abroad but would also create more than 5,314 job opportunities in 2020 in the Saudi market, according to the Cinema Build KSA report.

The Saudi cinema industry was predicted to see enormous growth and being the largest gathering of cinema stakeholders in the Kingdom, Cinema Build KSA 2020 aims to serve as a learning center for building world-class film theaters.

The event is organized by Eyes of Cities in association with the Great Minds Group. Boasting more than 300 attendees, at least 30 sponsors and exhibitors, and 25 international speakers, the second annual conference will cover a broader aspect of the burgeoning cinema industry in the Kingdom.