JEDDAH — The salaries of the majority of Saudis appointed under the Nitaqat program were low, admitted Minister of Labor Adel Fakieh Saturday.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Fakieh attributed the low salary to the fact that only 5 percent of Saudis registered in the Hafiz program hold university degrees.
He said modalities were being worked out to fix the minimum salaries for Saudis in the Nitaqat program.
He, however, confirmed that 247,000 Saudis have been employed in the Nitaqat program in the past 10 months.
These figures were based on the statistics of the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) and not of the Labor Ministry, said Fakieh.
It was confirmed that they were not students or those enlisted in the Hafiz program and working in the private sector.
The minister said that the labor market receives more than 300,000 Saudi citizens annually.
Fakieh said his ministry was working on several fronts to improve the localization of jobs in the private sector. He stressed that his ministry takes into consideration the repeated complaints on bogus employment. To curb this practice, he said that a Saudi employee will not be included in GOSI unless he has completed three months of service.
Nitaqat, the Kingdom’s program for measuring nationalization, poses real challenges to businesses which are tackling knowledge transfer and succession planning within their organizations, Hay Group, the global management consultancy, said in its “Nitaqat in the Spotlight” survey recently.
On the whole, private companies have embraced the Nitaqat program, but it hasn’t been without its controversies, the survey noted. The Nitaqat program takes into account the sector-specific challenges in achieving nationalization as it compares each company to its immediate peer group (based on the economic activity/sector and size cohort).
Hay Group salary report for 2011 indicates that salaries rose at an average rate of 4.4 percent last year in the Kingdom and are forecast to increase by a similar amount next year.
The pressures on organizations to achieve their Saudization target is partly reflected in the fact that Saudi nationals are paid 13 per cent higher than the general market average.