EVERY TIME we attempt to replace the country’s foreign labor workforce with Saudis, our efforts fail. Last week, local newspapers published statements by officials on the employment of Saudis in the private sector.
Apparently, for every Saudi employed in the private sector, there are 13 foreigners employed.
The figures are unsettling: Saudi Arabia recruits more than one million foreigner workers every year, there are an estimated 500,000 visas in the hands of citizens that will be sold on the street, foreigners remit billions of riyals every year to their home countries, 30 percent of gold shops are run by expatriates and only 25 percent of Saudis are employed in the private sector.
Foreign workers dominate many markets and the government is paralyzed in the face of the countless violations being committed.
Officials in our country are aware, more than ever, that we have an unemployment problem among our youth and the excuse that Saudis are lazy or unfit for the job, should be blamed on our education system’s inability to produce students that are of use to the labor market.
Many have stressed on the importance of opening more colleges and technical and vocational institutes so more Saudis can be trained and sent out into the job market but the importance of practical training cannot be emphasized enough. Without practical training, such colleges and institutes serve little purpose.
These problems can be solved with better cooperation between the government and private sectors; experts need to sit down and lay out a plan that does not put the interests of corporations and businessmen first but rather the interests of the nation.