The Labor Ministry intends to launch 30 new initiatives as part of its ongoing efforts to create jobs for the increasing number of Saudi university graduates, Labor Minister Adel Fakeih announced Saturday.
Addressing prominent businessmen and executives in the city, he said the new initiatives would include efforts to develop the skills of Saudi workers, informing the private sector about qualified Saudi jobseekers and opening new employment opportunities for women.
Fakeih made this comment while opening a workshop at Jeddah Hilton on “Pioneers of Saudization” attended by delegates from companies in Premium and Green categories of the newly introduced Nitaqat system. Other initiatives planned by the ministry are employment for people with special needs, incentives for working in remote villages and regions and development of the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF).
The minister’s statement comes on the eve of Jeddah HR Forum 2011, which aims to strengthen the partnership between the public and private sectors to implement the Nitaqat system and solve unemployment among the Saudis. According to a recent report, the ministry has received applications from more than a million Saudis seeking jobs.
Fakeih said he does not believe that Nitaqat is a total solution for the problem. “I believe that it can solve the problem to a great extent with the support of Saudi businessmen and private companies,” he said and praised the companies that have increased the percentage of Saudi workers.
About 150 human resource development leaders from major companies participated in the workshop and explained their strategies to employ Saudis. It was supported by Bab Rizq Jameel (BRJ), NCB and Panda.
While welcoming the new initiatives, Ibrahim Badawood, director of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, proposed that the ministry set up a databank of Saudi employees so that companies would be able to know their history and performance.
“If companies know the history of an employee, the reason for leaving his previous job whether it was to get a better salary or some other reason, they can employ them with confidence,” Badawood told Arab News. “We need a kind of credit bank system where a defaulter will be blacklisted and would not be given further loans,” he added.
Badawood also proposed that companies such as construction firms that cannot employ Saudis should support organizations such as BRJ and HRDF to employ more Saudis. He also urged the ministry to publish an index of employment and unemployment of Saudis monthly.
He was all praise for the Nitaqat system, saying it is a good way to encourage private companies to employ Saudis and get skilled foreign workers. “We want to hear from the ministry the result of the program and whether it is progressing well or not.” The ministry should also give guidelines regarding work timings and salary scales in order to attract Saudi workers.
Badawood said BRJ, an affiliate of his organization, has created more than 190,000 jobs since it was established in 2003. “We intend to create 51,000 jobs this year alone,” he said, adding that there has been 10 percent annual increase in jobs created by BRJ. About 65 percent of Saudis employed through BRJ are women.
“We have established a good partnership with the Labor Ministry in implementing Nitaqat and we are working in many ways with the ministry to make the program a big success and we are proud of this cooperation,” he said. BRJ supports 20,000 small enterprises and family projects.