Unemployed Saudi engineers

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Al-Yaum newspaper

PERHAPS we understand that the lack of job opportunities for "uneducated" and "unskilled" Saudis is not the fault of the private sector, or the public sector either. Finding employment for the unqualified youths is very difficult for the government sector, and it would be very stupid on the part of the private sector to hire uneducated and unqualified Saudis.

Employing uneducated Saudi young men and women to circumvent the regulations would in reality deepen the problem of what is called "disguised unemployment."

This unemployment, which the private sector is forced to bear, is undoubtedly a natural result of the pressure from the Ministry of Labor, because it is the easiest solution to pour water to quell the fire of a more serious problem.

Even if we are convinced that a young man or woman who is professionally unqualified bears part of the blame for his unemployment, how can we justify the presence of many qualified engineers and technicians among the unemployed Saudis while our engineering offices are full of non-Saudis?

No one wants to strain the private sector, or add to its burden, because it is the backbone of the economy and the source of income for thousands of Saudi families.

But this does not preclude it from the responsibility of granting the Saudi youth having necessary qualifications the opportunity to get a job, and instead give it to someone else who just graduated from a university or institute in his country.

According to statistics provided by the Saudi Council of Engineers, Saudi Arabia employs about a quarter of a million engineers, 92 percent of them foreigners. The ratio of employed Saudi engineers does not exceed 8 percent. Is this reasonable?

It is quite unfair to the young Saudi who worked hard and studied staying up late, and whose education cost his government hundreds of thousands of riyals, and his family waited many years for him to fulfill his dream. Is it reasonable that this dream is shattered because he cannot find a job?

If there are 1,500 unemployed Saudi engineers in our country when it gives jobs to 200,000 foreign engineers, I must say with all due respect that the words of the Ministry of Labor, and the efforts of the Saudi Council of Engineers, are meaningless and of no value.


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