Saudi Arabia needs $4bn to reduce unemployment
Saudi Arabia will need to spend SAR14.9 billion ($4bn) to reform its labour market and significantly reduce unemployment, according to the Ministry of Labor.
There are no publicly available official employment statistics in the kingdom, but it has been reported that the unemployment rate is in the teens.
About one-third of youth are estimated to be unemployed, while thousands of women – who are not included in unemployment statistics – also are seeking work under the kingdom’s loosened restrictions.
The kingdom has been implementing a nationalisation program to encourage private firms to employ Saudis. About one-third of the entire population of 28 million are expats, mostly low-paid migrant workers.
A ministry statement published by Saudi Gazette says 751,000 Saudi men and women had been employed due to the nationalisation program – a figure that surpassed the ministry’s target.
The number of employed women also had increased seven-fold, from 48,406 prior to the strategy’s implementation to 398,538.
“This is an unprecedented ratio,” the statement says.
The ministry said the $4bn was needed to continue to finance the strategy.