Saudi Arabia’s government has plans to create up to 300,000 jobs in the private sector for its citizens, Minister of Labour Adel Fakeih was quoted as saying in Arab News.
The senior official did not reveal a specific timeline in which the government is aiming to make this quota possible.
He added that the ministries of Economy and Planning, Finance and Labour will launch about 36 initiatives as part of the job creation scheme.
Some of the initiatives planned by the government to engage the local workforce include expanding summer training for university students in the large private companies and new schemes for women that enable them to set up businesses that require work from home, local media reported.
Fakeih also said that there are about 650,000 Saudis who are currently unemployed in the country.
Unemployment rate in the Kingdom has been hovering at around 11.4 to 11.7 per cent throughout the last year but experts say that just 30 to 40 per cent of the working age adults participate in the workforce.
In an effort to increase overall employment in the economy and reduce the population’s reliance on oil-funded government jobs, Saudi Arabia has been aggressively pursuing a policy shift that aims to encourage its citizens to join the private sector.
This, in turn, has led to a number of major labour reforms including the introduction of Nitaqat system that requires a company to employ a certain number of Saudi nationals over expat workers.
The Gulf country also announced plans last year to introduce unemployment insurance for all locals with jobs to encourage workforce participation in the private sector.
As part of the insurance scheme, all Saudi workers in both the private and public sectors will be charged one per cent of their monthly salary as a subscription.
Their employer will also pay the same amount into the programme, which will be operated by a new state insurance body to be set up soon.
Those who lose their jobs will be entitled to up to 12 months of compensation, set at 60 per cent of the average salary they earned in the previous three years for the first three months and then 50 per cent for the following nine months.