85 percent of engineers in Saudi Arabia are expats

Chinese workers hold their national and Saudi flags as they await the arrival of China's President Hu Jintao at Riyadh Cement Company in Riyadh. (File photo: Reuters)

Expatriates constitute 85 percent of manpower in the engineering sector, according to a statement issued by the Saudi Ministry of Labor. There are 200,000 registered engineers, said the statement.

Minister of Labor Mufrej Al-Haqbani and Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah along with members of the Saudi Council of Engineers have agreed to come up with a strategy to handle the challenge of employing Saudis in the engineering sector.

The Ministry of Labor announced that it will consider Saudis who are still on training to help overcome the problems that engineering offices face. The meeting also called for establishing an Engineering Council with members from the Ministry of Labor, engineers as well as representative from the private sector.

Engineering consultation offices are small and are based on individual licenses which make them unable to get the needed financing to grow and recruit the needed manpower.

The Saudization quota that the ministry has fixed for this sector exceeds that of other sectors.

Another challenge in Saudizing this sector is that the number of Saudi engineering graduates is very low, said Khalid Al-Othman, a member of the National Committee for Engineering Consultation Offices.

The Saudi Council of Engineers allows students who cleared 50% of the curriculum to register and get free membership. It also supervises the professional engineering examinations and provides training and rehabilitation programs.

It now has branches in different regions. The Council is under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Nov. 12, 2015.

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