Unemployment rate among Saudi citizens has steadied at approximately 12.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, positively indicating that the market is providing job opportunities to local men and women.
Al Arabiya.net spoke to the head of the General Authority for Statistics, Dr. Fahd al-Tkhaifi, who noted an increase in women participation in the Saudi economy, stressing how significant this is to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Statistics based on governmental records indicate an increase in the participation of women in the Saudi economy, which has reached 19.4 percent compared to 17.8 percent during the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the third.
It also showed an increase in Saudi men’s participation in the economy, reaching 63.4 percent compared to 62.6 percent during the same period. Al-Tkhaifi also noted a decrease in unemployment rates among Saudi women, which went down to 31 percent from 32.7 percent in the third quarter.
He also added that there is a decrease in the total number of Saudis searching for jobs is approximately at 1,086,561 according to the government records. An 11.8 percent decrease was noted in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter. The statistics also indicate that there’s an increase among the Saudi employees and a decrease among foreign employees.
Unemployment rate compared internationally
He pointed out that Saudi Arabia has the highest population growth rate among the G20 nations, with a 2.5 percent growth rate. High population growth rates in countries with economies that depend on a single source is among the challenges that facing attempts to reduce unemployment.
This is why Vision 2030 aims to increase economic resources to face the challenge of high population growth rate, he explained.
In this regard, when comparing Saudi Arabia's unemployment rate with other countries in the G20, the rate in the kingdom is average, as it is among the 10 countries where unemployment rates are approximately between 4 percent and 7 percent.
350,000 job seekers annually
When reading the unemployment rate, focusing on age groups and population composition in Saudi Arabia is necessary, al-Tkhaifi said. Ages between 15 to 34 years make up 33.9 percent of the population. While considering the total employment by sex, nationality and age groups, statistics show that those employed below the age of 30 are 48 percent.
The statistics also show that students receiving higher education in public and private universities, colleges and institutes amount to approximately 1,600,000. Thus, graduates with high degrees exceed 350,000 each year.
This means that we have 350,000 job seekers every year, which indicates that there is a challenge in the labor market based on our demographic composition.