Expats account for over 75% of the jobs in Saudi’s labour market – report

Gulfbusiness - Debriefer
2019-06-18 | Since 6 Month

Saudi nationals represented about 24.4 per cent of the workforce

Expatriates currently account for about 75.6 per cent of jobs in Saudi Arabia’s labour market, according to local media reports.

While expatriate men made up 66.2 per cent of those employed in the kingdom, non-national women accounted for 9.4 per cent, Arabic daily Al-Watan reported, quoting figures from the General Organization of Social Security (GOSI).

Saudi nationals represented about 24.4 per cent of the workforce, including 16 per cent men and 8.4 per cent women.

As of the first quarter of the year, there were 12.765 million workers in the kingdom, including 10.49 million men (82.2 per cent) and 2.27 million women (17.7 per cent), Saudi Gazette cited a report from the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) as stating.

The report found that Saudi nationals accounted for just over 24 per cent of the workforce at 3.112 million, with men representing 65.4 per cent of the total and women making up 34.6 per cent.

While Saudis in the age group of 30-35 represented about 18.5 per cent of the working population, those in the age group of 35-39 accounted for 17.3 per cent. Citizens aged over 65 represented about 0.4 per cent.

The report also found that a majority of the Saudi nationals – 77.2 per cent – worked in Riyadh, Makkah and the Eastern Province. 

Currently over 10 million expats work and live in Saudi Arabia. 

The kingdom has seen an exodus of legal foreign workers in recent years, which comes amidst increasing fees on expats as well as a strict Saudisation policy in the retail and wholesale sector. 

Since November 2012, the kingdom has charged SAR200 ($53) a month for each foreign worker at private sector companies where the number of expatriates exceeds Saudis.

This fee increased to SAR300-400 ($80-$107) per foreign worker in 2018 and will rise to SAR700-800 ($187-$213) by 2020.

More recently, the country has imposed job restrictions in 12 retail roles as part of which those facilities will have to ensure that at least 70 per cent of their staff are Saudi nationals.


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