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Saudi Ministry of Labor backs greater gender representation

Published: Updated:

The Saudi Ministry of Labor pledges its support for greater gender representation and youth participation across the Kingdom.

Recent Saudi Arabian government statistics point to some interesting challenges that lie ahead for the Kingdom in areas of unemployment, female labor participation, and youth engagement and integration in the workforce. Unemployment remains a critical concern.

According to the latest official figures, 12.1 percent of the total Saudi labor force (15 years and older) were unemployed in 2012. Some 600,000 people were hence out of work. Unemployment figures are estimated to reach 6.1 percent among the male population, soaring to 35.7 percent amid the female population.

While female participation in the labor force is significantly lower than male participation, there are some compelling trends in the positive direction. Labor force participation for Saudi females has increased from between 7-8 percent to 15.7 percent in less than a decade.

Employers are increasingly rethinking their human capital strategies in the light of the changing workforce dynamics and on-going regulatory changes.

More work still needs to be done for enhancing employment opportunities and female participation in Saudi workforce.

Against this backdrop, the inaugural “Talent & Diversity Leadership Forum” will be held on Dec.11-12, 2013 in Riyadh. The forum builds up the success of the “Human Assets Expansion and Women in Leadership” series’ and seeks to review the changing leadership demands of the Kingdom’s leading employers.

Up to 250 CEO’s, managing director, senior government officials and department heads will be meeting in the event to review firsthand the government’s policies for talent development and equality. Key employers from across Saudi Arabia were invited to discuss equal opportunities for genders, youth engagement and integration of workers with special needs.

Saudi Minister of Labor Adel Muhammad Fakeih said “the Ministry’s support of the Talent & Diversity Leadership Forum highlights its continued support in this area, and helps in providing the foundation for future equality of opportunities for all employees.”

Equal opportunities for genders, youth engagement and integration of workers with special needs are the main themes of the forthcoming forum to be hosted by French business communications group naseba.

Sophie Le Ray, CEO of naseba expressed her gratitude to the ministry for their insight and support and said “the Talent & Diversity Leadership Forum will provide a gathering of Saudi Arabia’s stakeholders, policy makers, business leaders and senior HR executives. It will seek to discuss and address the most pressing issues faced by Saudi employer and also identify possible opportunities for collaboration.”

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.