A new report by Booz & Company has stated that Saudi Arabia’s policies for women in employment in the region are promising for the overall success of the future economy. Even though more women are now working outside the home in Saudi Arabia the report suggests that there is still a lot more initiative needed in this area.
At present about 15% of Saudi Arabia’s work force is women but many positions that could be filled by local women are still going to non-nationals as there are no local candidates for the job. The report suggests that it is largely due to restrictions in areas such as legal, social, education and occupational conditions and these are currently preventing more women from joining the workforce. Dr. Mona AlMunajjed a Senior Advisor with Booz & Company suggests that much reform needs to take place in the educational system to prepare women for joining the workforce. She also feels that more legal reform might also be needed.
Over the past twenty years Saudi Arabian women’s participation in the workforce has almost tripled but this is still very low when compared to others in the region , In the UAE almost 60% of the workforce is composed of women, in Kuwait the figure is close to 43%, in Qatar it is nearly 37%. The report also states that in 2008 there were four times more Saudi Arabian women unemployed than men.
Of those women currently working in Saudi Arabia over 90% of them have been well educated having qualified from a secondary school and most also having obtained a University degree but being well qualified in the region does not guarantee you a job as almost 79% of unemployed women are university graduates and many also possess a degree at Doctorate level.
The Public sector is the largest employer of women in Saudi Arabia accounting for about one third of all public sector employees. Of this figure a large number of them are currently working in education. Pat present the private sector only employs about 5% of the women working in Saudi Arabia.Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News