The number of unemployed Saudi males was 239,176, amounting to 6.9% of the total Saudi male labour force, while the number of unemployed Saudi women was 177,174, a jobless rate of 24.9% of the total female workforce in the kingdom. The number of unemployed non-Saudis reached 21,298 people, 0.4% of the total working force in Saudi Arabia.
The Ministry of Labour and the relevant government agencies continued their efforts to raise the percentage of national manpower in various sectors, especially those where foreign labour is concentrated, according to a report by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency.
The agency provides information regularly on the labour market in the kingdom, and urged the private sector to provide employment opportunities for qualified job seeking citizens, as well as regulating the use of foreign labour within the limits of real demand where there is not enough specialization among Saudis.
These efforts led to an increase in the percentage of Saudis in the private sector, which stood at 13.3% at the end of 2008 versus 13.1% in 2007. The number of Saudis working in these enterprises at the end of 2008 stood at 829,057, compared to 765,621 at the end of 2007, an increase of 8.29% or 63,436 people.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Civil Service Mohammed Al-Fayez revealed to the Shura Council that 180,000 jobs are illegally occupied through 140 false categories and 124,000 job vacancies. The Minister indicated that there are certain false or uncertain categories, as there are 180,000 citizens working illegally and the system is being circumvented, which means that recruitment is being done without adherence to standards or specific qualifications and without competition.
Al-Fayez denied the existence of any administrative posts being occupied by non-Saudis in any department monitored and subject to the civil service system, although a recent ministry report revealed that there were more than 7,000 jobs occupied by non-Saudis.
The minister presented statistics to the Council which showed that over 124,000 vacancies were available, contradicting the ministry’s report for the fiscal Hijri year 1428-1429, which underlined the availability of more than 180,000 jobs, of which 29,000 were within the ministry’s domain, while 71,500 jobs were taken by non-Saudis.
The Management Committee at the Shura Council is studying the minister’s answers as a prelude to making recommendations to address the constraints and observations revealed by the service report and the minister, including the call for recruitment for vacant posts required by government agencies.
Regarding the proposal to increase the retirement age to 65 years, al-Fayez said that the ministry was against it, given that the kingdom’s population is mostly young, thus the retirement age may need to be lowered to make way for the younger generation.
He also said that the current service system is not flawed and most of its articles are similar to civil service regulations around the world, and that the Civil Service Council was given the freedom to issue more specific regulations, the latest of which were the diplomatic posts regulations. The ministerial committee for administrative organization and the Civil Service Council are also considering the system, the minister said.
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