Saudi trading
A Saudi employee at work inside the traders room at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Saudis employed by the private sector have topped 2 million for the first time amid a vigorous localisation drive in the kingdom, a Saudi labour official has disclosed.

“More than 2 million male and female Saudis are working at the private sector for the first time, with the women’s enagement accounting for 34 per cent,” said Majed Al Dahwi, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development for Localisation.

He told Al Arabiya TV that for example the numbers of Saudis working in the engineering sector have surged from 7,000 to 19,000, and from 9,000 to 26,000 in the accounting field.

“Last year, the minister of human resources announced 32 decisions to localise a number of activities and professions mainly medicine, engineering, pharmacology and marketing,” added Al Dahwi

He attributed lack of full localisation in some sectors to a shortage of Saudis available in them and the limited numbers of university graduates in some specialties.

“We have a unit examining supply and demand, seeking to narrow the gap between outputs and needs of the job market. We have issued decisions localising several professions attractive to Saudis,” the official said.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has launched a series of initiatives to employ its nationals and replace foreign workers in several fields including education, telecommunications and real estate as part of a labour policy known as “Saudisation”.

Earlier this week, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmed Al Rajhi issued new decisions restricting jobs in certain sectors to Saudis only. They cover postal and parcel transport services, optics professions, customer services, licensed aviation professions including co-pilots and air controllers, sales outlets and periodic checks of cars.

The move is expected to generate more than 33,000 jobs for citizens.

In April, Al Rajhi ordered Saudising employment in

independent and seasonal entertainment cities as well as family recreational centres by 70 per cent of the overall manpower.

Foreigners make up about 10.5 million of Saudi Arabia’s total population of 34.8 million.