Fit for a Saudi

The longer I am in the Kingdom the more I see the need for expedited and successful Saudiazation.  The youth dominate the population of the Kingdom and in addition there are a high percentage of new high school graduates and some college graduates having difficulties finding jobs.  This difficulty is compounded by the lack of available positions as well as an attitude on what kind of jobs are “fit for a Saudi.” 


When I think back to life in the States, it is typical for high school students as well as new graduates to take what may be viewed as a low-level job such as working at a Starbucks, a grocery store or some kind of hardware store.  However here in the Kingdom, these positions are normally filled by exported “guest” workers from India, Phillipines and elsewhere.  I have asked some of the Saudi youth seeking jobs why they do not consider applying at such places as Starbucks, Tamimi (local Safeway grocery store) or Saco (somewhat comparable to a Home Depot type store) and the response is usually those are menial positions for the “guest” workers or that the Saudis do not have the requisite skills for such positions.


There is also a degree among a lot of youth that they feel they need to start in a position “fitting” to their nationality.  Not necessarily as a manager (although that would be most acceptable) but a position where they (although inexperienced) have lesser people under them.

Now this can work both ways.  For example,  in one case I know of a young Saudi man who is a certified electrician.  It took him several years to obtain an acceptable position with an engineering firm.  He is happy to have the job and likes the work.  Because it is his first job the Phillipine and Indian electricians are expected to train him, even though he was hired in a position above them.  The “guest” workers wish to preserve their job security and knowledge so the young Saudi has found that they will only show him the minimal acceptable level of training and then let him figure out the rest for himself. 


So on one hand we can see the need for Saudiazation in that Saudis should and could fill the majority of available positions thereby reducing unemployment and reliance on guest workers.  On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has relied on the guest workers for so many years that many of them (the guest workers) are going to remain resistant to change for fear of their own job security.


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