Saudi Aramco, GE and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) inaugurated Saudi Arabia’s first all-female business process service centre in Riyadh on Sunday, the companies announced in a joint statement.
The centre, first announced in September 2013, will offer customers specialised finance and accounting, HR, materials supply and office services to improve operational efficiency.
Supported by the Human Resources Development Fund, it is aimed at supporting the Kingdom’s localisation targets and boost economic diversification.
Spread across 3,200 square metres, the facility will create up to 3,000 local jobs for Saudi women within the next three years, the statement said.
Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid Al Falih said: “The first all-female business process service center in Saudi Arabia brings significant value to the Saudi economy and society.
“It helps address the challenge of creating jobs for talented and skilled Saudi female graduates, establishes a more diverse workforce, and boosts the competitiveness of Saudi Arabia.”
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD of TCS, added: “Skills, talent and technology converge at the Kingdom’s first all-female business process service center, which marks a new era for the IT and business process services industry in the Kingdom.
In the first phase, around 300 employees have been recruited, the statement said. Nearly 90 of the Saudi recruits are fresh graduates, while the rest have two to four years of experience.
The Saudi fresh graduates were chosen from King Saud University, Princess Noura University, Imam University and others. Over 1,200 candidates were interviewed for the jobs.
Those recruited received over 80,000 hours of intensive training in various disciplines, such as communications, presentation skills, corporate etiquette, global culture, MS Excel skills and domain training, the statement added.
Saudi Aramco and GE are the initial clients of the centre and both organisations said that they have already reached their targets of hiring over 100 women each and transferred business services to the centre.
John Rice, GE’s vice chairman, said: “Today’s inauguration is proof of our commitment to support the Kingdom’s priorities around human capital development and the creation of employment opportunities for talented Saudi women.”
Saudi has been struggling to reduce the high unemployment rates among local women in the country, which stood at 34 per cent in 2013, two per cent higher than 2012, according to statistics from the Central Department of Statistics and Information.
The Kingdom has taken strict measures to nationalise the workforce by implementing the nitaqat system, which forces private companies to recruit a required percentage of Saudi men and women.
The Human Resource Development Fund was also set up as an independent body by the government to facilitate the employment of Saudis into the country’s private sector.