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Only 5% Saudis in Construction Jobs

Middle East : 04 March 2012
Source: Saudi Gazette
About 95 percent of the four million jobs in the construction sector go to foreigners, with just five percent of the jobs being filled by Saudis. This was revealed by the Chairman of the Engineering Offices at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Deputy Chairman of the Architecture Section at the Saudi Engineers Association, Talal Samargandi.
“The building sector serves as the largest workshop in the world for the training of foreigners who are recruited without possessing any skills or experience in the contracting sector. This does not provide any advantage to the Saudi economy,” he said, according to a report in Al-Iqtasadiyah newspaper.
He criticized the failure to benefit from the growth in the construction industry by training Saudi youths and localizing the jobs in the sector as a great loss to the Saudi national economy.
Samargandi said: “The mega projects under construction highlight the importance of Saudizing these jobs and creating a solid base for the building industry by training Saudi youth and supporting them with their own workshops and factories.”
He said industry specialists have proposed a society for developing and Saudizing the sector as 60 to 70 percent of the Kingdom’s budget is spent on construction projects directly or indirectly.
Samargandi also warned the lack of a solid base of construction workers could be a problem in the future. “We should benefit from factories and workshops to train Saudi youth and localize this sector,” he said.
However, the Chairman of the Committee of the Contractors at JCCI, Abdullah Ridwan, said there are already several construction job opportunities for Saudi youths and efforts are being made to absorb more Saudi jobseekers in the contracting sector.
There is a good heavy equipment work culture in the Kingdom, particularly in excavations, he said.
“We are looking forward to extending this to other skills such as ironsmith, carpentry and construction because of their excellent and attractive financial return compared to other professions and skills,” Ridwan said.
He also stressed the importance of vocational training for these Saudi job seekers before they join the construction and contracting sector.
“There are lots of job opportunities in the sector especially in maintenance where there are thousands of job opportunities. It is high time to make the best use of this sector which can absorb most of the Saudi job seekers,” Ridwan said
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