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Money & BusinessSaudi Arabia

Saudi Unemployment Rate Drops To 8.6% As More Women Join Workforce

Saudi Arabia’s unemployment rate has fallen to 8.6 per cent as more women join the workforce in the Kingdom.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) has unveiled a series of impressive achievements in the pursuit of a more efficient and effective labour market.

These achievements align with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and show that priority was given to attain several key goals:

  • Protect workers’ rights
  • Ensure safe and healthy workplaces
  • Nurture national talent
  • Achieve a sustainable balance in the labour market

Saudi labour market

To achieve these goals, MHRSD has in place appropriate laws and regulations.

2023 witnessed significant progress. More than 1,000 government employees received training at international agencies, which helped improve their work effectiveness.

The job engagement index for civil servants surpassed the 2022 target, reflecting a more engaged public sector workforce.

The National Training Campaign (Waad) incentivised the private sector to train workers, with, as a result, more than 16,000 trainees benefiting in various sectors.

The skills accelerator program focused on boosting the efficiency of Saudi employees in the private sector, targeting industries with the greatest impact on the national economy.

More than 10,000 individuals benefitted from programs fostering self-employment and specialised skills development.

More than 500 people with disabilities were integrated into the workforce in 2023, encouraging them to participate in and contribute to the economy.

The launch of a comprehensive program for reporting work-related accidents underlines the ministry’s commitment to workers’ well-being.

The “On Time” campaign has been promoting timely wage payment, with more than 700,000 establishments complying with the wage protection system for more than nine million private sector employees.

The ministry’s efforts have yielded significant results. The unemployment rate dropped from 12.8 per cent in 2017 to 8.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2023.

Working conditions for expatriate workers saw a 73 per cent improvement in 2023 compared to 2020.

The percentage of establishments implementing safety and health measures soared from a mere 15 per cent in 2019 to 71.27 per cent in 2023.

Compliance with the wage protection system rose significantly, from 50 per cent in 2017 to 86.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2023.

The percentage of employed individuals with disabilities increased from 7.7 per cent in 2016 to 12.6 per cent in the first half of 2024.

MHRSD actively supports working women through dedicated programs. The Wusool transportation program has provided transportation to 234,344 women employed in the private sector.

The Qurrah program, establishing centres for children of working women, has enabled 26,363 women to access childcare services through accredited centres.

More than 25,000 women trainees participated in programs designed to equip them with the skills needed to thrive in the job market.

These initiatives have demonstrably increased women’s participation in the Saudi labour market.

By the third quarter of 2023, the share of women in the labour market has risen to 34.2 per cent, compared to just 21.2 per cent in 2017.

Moreover, the number of women in senior and middle management positions has also seen a significant rise, jumping from 28.6 per cent in 2017 to 43.7 per cent by the third quarter of 2023.

MHRSD’s commitment to a more efficient and inclusive labour market is fostering positive change in Saudi Arabia.

As these efforts continue, they are expected to have an even greater impact on Saudi Arabia’s workforce and overall economic progress.

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Arabian Business

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