Top expat talent still needed in Saudi Arabia

Posted on 2 Oct at 6 PM in UAE
Story link: Top expat talent still needed in Saudi Arabia
Top expat talent still needed in Saudi Arabia

Top expat talent still needed in Saudi Arabia

Although it may seem otherwise, the Saudization drive doesn’t mean there’s no more need for the brightest and best expat talent.

Admittedly, the drive for Saudization, known in the Kingdom as Nitiqat, has seen a recent announcement of the nationalisation of another 14,000 jobs. The news follows the ban on expatriate employees in 12 sectors including retail, banking and car showroom sales as well as a plan to reserve certain jobs in the hospitality sector for Saudi nationals. Another target is the total Saudization of all jobs in tourism by the end of next year.

Originally introduced to cut local unemployment levels in the Kingdom, Saudization has been only partially successful to date with some 12.5 per cent of locals still unemployed. However, with the loss of 1.5 expat jobs over the last two years, consumer demand is lessening at a rate likely to hurt the economy at a time when its oil revenues are declining. The much-reported demographics give the impression that international talent is no longer welcome nor needed, but it’s false news as expats’ specialist qualifications and expertise is still required, especially in sectors where the local workforce lacks experience.

Nowadays, for expat professionals wishing to work in Saudi, specialist skill sets are the entry ticket to jobs in infrastructure, tourism, real estate and especially marine biology due to its projects for managing the fragile ecosystems of the Red Sea. For many sectors, looking overseas for the experience necessary is the only way to go for the Kingdom, with expert expats in the relevant sectors able to transfer vital knowledge to Saudi employees eager to learn.

At present, employers are doing all they can to attract top international talent with at least some knowledge of the Kingdom and a desire to settle there in the medium to long term. For those with much-needed skills, Saudi is still an attractive project as regards challenging roles, high-profile projects and highly-competitive relocation packages as well as top salaries for the right applicants. Already, top expat talent is relocating from other Gulf States in order to benefit from the quality opportunities on offer.

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