Scholarships for gaining experience

September 23, 2018
Scholarships for gaining experience
Anmar Mutaweh

Okaz newspaper

IF we come together trying to find a common ground between the employer and the job seeker according to the current labor market situation, we will see both of them keenly insisting on the factor of experience.

The employer in either governmental or private sector will look for an employee who has a previous experience. For example, a school principal will look for a qualified teacher with previous experience in the field.

If we ask parents about whether their sons and daughters should receive education from teachers with previous experience or fresh teachers, then they will probably lean toward the first choice. The same rule applies to all educational institutions, organizations and centers.

The dilemma of experience is not new in society, it is rather known during the financial boom of the 70s. Experience began to become a vital requirement for the purpose of bringing in qualified employees in order to save spending on salaries.

Foreign skilled employees who have taken over educational, medical and engineering positions usually receive low wages but have good experience. The employer then takes it as a willpower, which is not easy to concede to a Saudi employee who demands a higher wage without any experience.

In the past, the erstwhile Ministry of Higher Education offered scholarships to get education abroad, exposing Saudi students to new cultures and sciences.

Currently, it is important to have more new projects with the same goals of acquiring work experience at international organizations, which have joint agreement to train students on scholarships. The main rule of this program is that it does not exceed more than two years for those who are not fluent in the language, and one year for those who have mastered it. However, the experience of one-year in a strong establishment abroad is equal to 10 years of experience in most countries we recruit non-Saudi labor from.

Today the labor market in Saudi Arabia is no longer attractive as it used to be in the past due to the convergence of opportunities and increased unemployment. Also, the living costs are no longer adequately low to save something on a tight budget. A qualified and skilled employee receives higher wages in his mother country almost as much as he gets in Saudi Arabia.

The solution lies sometimes not on forcing Saudization in the market, but rather depending on skills and experiences.

Saudi Arabia can also send youth to acquire job experience through special scholarship programs supporting Vision 2030.

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