‘Nitaqat’ program sees salary boost for Saudis

Saudi Arabia is attempting to boost employment of nationals in the private sector. (File photo: Reuters)

The Nitaqat program, part of an effort to boost private-sector employment of nationals, has come as a boon to Saudi workers in the private sector as several companies increased their salaries, Makkah daily reported.

To comply with the Nitaqat directives, several companies have been forced to change their employment policies and put Saudi nationals in the posts occupied by expatriates.

Salaries of Saudi labor have reached about SR6,000 a month, while some companies are also employing students of both genders to work part time in shops and restaurants during evenings for SR3,000 a month.

Companies have been forced to resort to these steps to deal with Saudis who continuously leave their jobs for better options.

The Ministry of Labor has also limited companies from recruiting expatriate workers, which was an additional reason for them to retain their foreign workforce.

Human resources experts contacted by the paper said several companies are now providing training to Saudis to better qualify them for the job market. The experts noted that the stereotype image of Saudi youth not willing to work or were inefficient has undergone a drastic change.

Mishal Al-Nafei, an administrative consultant, said in addition to raising their salaries, companies are also changing job titles and their responsibilities to stimulate the Saudi youth. Many companies are also conducting training courses for their employees to achieve their Saudization quotas, he said.

Any restructuring of companies, he cautioned, should be based on placing the right employee in the right job.

A Saudi laborer said he had to keep his job title away from his family and relatives although he is aware that there should not be any shame in work.

He added that he was offered a better job in a famous restaurant, and his company stopped him from moving by offering him training to qualify him as a salesman with a better salary.

Siraj Melaibari, a member of the training committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said this was a golden opportunity for young Saudis to be employed and become financially independent.

It is an open market, he added, which is offering good salaries. He pointed out that factories, construction and tourism companies were most affected by expatriates leaving their jobs.

However, Melaibari noted that these companies have overcome this problem by providing training in technical fields, with salaries of up to SR5,000 a month.

He believes that the coming period will witness even better employment opportunities after companies complete their restructuring and finalize their budgets.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Jan. 28, 2013

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Last Update: 09:18 KSA 12:18 - GMT 09:18
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