Saudization: Challenges and responses


Not a single day passes when one does not at least see an article on Saudiization. It has become the fashion to write on the subject. In the Gulf also, we find newspapers full of stories about the need to put locals into jobs presently occupied by others.

According to our media, one of the most important aspects in the development of the Gulf is the provision of employment for its citizens. Educated youth, having gained a firm foundation with a good education, seek jobs only to find most positions in Government and private industry are occupied by an expatriate labor force. 

While it is true that there can be no immediate transfer of expatriate to national labor, it is also true that much can be done to provide better opportunities for nationals at all levels of employment, in both the private and public sectors.

In order to do all this, however, one must remember that quality comes down to people. And what companies must do is invest in the best possible training which has to be an integral part of the Gulfization/Saudiization plan. In addition, companies should encourage employees to read relevant journals and publications, allow them to attend conferences and give them advice.

What is required in all this is the setting of goals. Mangers must be given a free hand to be tough and get rid of those who cannot or will not perform. In our Arab culture, emotions play too big part - a part in decision-making - and one thinks a thousand times before removing someone from his job.

This is not the case in the West; managers have to get tough there as to improve financial performance and to make theories from business schools a reality.

This is what exactly we should do. Our country and the Gulf region is already facing fierce competition from other regions.

We have to rely on ourselves. We can do this by changing our work ethics, working harder, producing more and training our people to the highest level.

I have noted, unfortunately, that there is a reluctance on the part of firms to spend heavily on training Arabs whose skills then make them an attractive target for rivals to lure away.

Management in our part of the world should look seriously into all these problems and teach themselves first.

When it has the ability to teach the latest style of leadership, motivational and team skills and change as required, then and only then will it have the ingredients for success needed in the next century.

I have a strong desire: Concerned authorities must take the strongest steps to ensure that our Arab youth not feel that years of education have been wasted and that they are provided with adequate opportunities to find employment.

Let us work together for a brighter future.


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