Majority of working professionals in Saudi Arabia would opt for different career

Reem Alharbi

RIYADH – Eighty-three percent of working professionals in Saudi Arabia have revealed that they would grab a second shot at choosing a different career path, and 52 percent already have the skills necessary to pursue that course should the opportunity arise. These are the results of the Workforce Survey by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. It polled 1,000 Saudi citizens to gain insight into the dynamism of today’s workforce compared to past generations, find out which skills workers find essential and learn about their career aspirations.

Ninety one percent of the respondents admit they have considered learning new skills outside of or after higher education, pointing to a strong motivation and desire for upskilling and continued learning.

Reem Alharbi, Head of Public Sector at LinkedIn KSA, said: “The responses show that the present generation of the Saudi workforce is equipped with the necessary skills[JB2] , and confident and flexible enough in its outlook to transition to new roles.”

Looking at salaries, three-quarters of the respondents – nearly 73 percent of men and 70 percent of women – are earning more than their parents. Most require no parental support, and 70 percent now receive no allowance. However, some still expect their parents to pay for rent (22 percent), family vacations (24 percent) or family dinners (27 percent).

Alharbi added: “The survey testifies to the evolution of the workplace and a maturing job market in Saudi Arabia. The fact that 70 percent of women draw higher wages than their parents is also a notable statistic that bodes well for the objective of the Saudi Vision 2030 to boost female participation in the workforce.”

With so many present job roles and responsibilities involving technology and experiencing disruption due to technological advancements, it is only natural that 92 percent of the respondents believe that the skills needed to succeed in today’s workplace differ greatly from the requirements of their parents’ generation.

Most of those surveyed cited technical proficiency, such as email, Microsoft Office, shared file systems and social media, as the biggest gaps in their parents’ skillset, followed by soft skills, including communication, collaboration and time management. The majority of Saudi professionals (58 percent) are convinced that their jobs today are more difficult than those of their parents.

Amid growing global concerns about artificial intelligence and automation replacing human jobs, the findings of the LinkedIn Workforce Survey highlight future job security concerns. Nineteen percent of the respondents foresee that their jobs will not exist in the same form in the next two decades, while 32.6 percent think their jobs will no longer be around by then. Only about a third (33.1 percent) believe they have made future-proof career choices, and their professions will still exist in another 20 years. — SG