Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, asked malls, supermarkets and restaurants and cafes to increase the percentage of citizens hired, as it looks to create jobs and reduce unemployment.
A set of three new decisions issued by Ahmed bin Suleiman Al Rajhi, the kingdom's Minister for Human Resources and Social Development, will provide 51,000 jobs for Saudi men and women, the official news agency SPA reported on Wednesday.
The first decision limits work to Saudis in all activities and professions in malls and malls' management offices, “with the exception of a limited number of activities and professions”.
A second directive governs the increase in the rate of localisation in restaurants and cafes. A third decision addresses the percentage of local hiring in supermarkets “in accordance with the definitions, professions, ratios, stages and requirements specified in the procedural guide issued with the decision”, according to the report.
“Commercial establishments should adhere to the decisions issued, in order to avoid penalties against violators."
Creating jobs is one of the central planks of the Vision 2030, the kingdom’s economic and social transformation programme. The country is expanding its industrial base and developing new sectors including tourism and the entertainment, which Riyadh hopes will create jobs for its citizens and attract foreign direct investment.
The kingdom aims to reduce unemployment to 7 per cent and increase women’s participation in the workforce to 30 per cent by 2030.
The overall unemployment rate in the kingdom – Saudis and non-Saudis above 15 years of age – fell to 7.4 per cent during the last four months of 2020, from 8.5 per cent recorded in the third quarter of last year, according to the General Authority for Statistics data carried by SPA last month.
Unemployment among Saudi citizens fell to 12.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 from 14.9 per cent in the third quarter.
The unemployment rate of Saudi males reached 7.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, down from 7.9 per cent in the previous quarter, while unemployment among Saudi females fell to 24.4 per cent from 30.2 per cent for the same period, according to official data.