Saudi women with master’s degrees complain of unemployment

Even though there is a need for people specialized in special education, government ministries have failed in job placement, one Saudi woman said

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A number of Saudi women who hold master’s degrees have spoken out against the unemployment they have faced for the past several years and the lack of appreciation for their degrees and social circumstances.

Several of these women spoke about their suffering with sorrow.

After earning her bachelor’s degree, A.T. said, she went on a government scholarship abroad to study special education. After several years of hard work, she obtained her master’s degree in 2011. However, she remains unemployed despite speaking English and having advanced educational qualifications.

Even though there is a need for people specialized in special education, the Ministry of Civil Service has completely sidelined her specialty, she told al-Riyadh daily.

“It breaks my heart when I see female graduates from different specializations who, instead of working in fields of their specialization, hold administrative jobs. I am still hopeful especially after meeting Minister of Education Prince Khaled Al-Faisal at his office in Jeddah,” she said.

Fatin F. also studied abroad on the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program, obtaining a graduate degree in biology in 2012. Since returning to the Kingdom, her hopes and dreams of finding a job have been dashed.

“After graduation and returning to the homeland, we submitted our resumes to different Saudi universities, but they refused to employ us, giving various unconvincing excuses for keeping expatriates in available jobs. The only choice we had was to submit applications for jobs through the Ministry of Civil Service, which did not take the trouble to find ways to employ us. The ministry does not have jobs for female graduates holding master’s degrees,” she said.

After visiting the ministry several times, Fatin said she was advised not to submit her master’s degree and instead apply for a job using her undergraduate qualifications.

“This matter has affected us emotionally. We have no financial security or stability and we have spent many years working hard to obtain our degrees, but after all this, we face the specter of unemployment.

Several people around us have started asking, ‘Why should we work hard if we are going to end up unemployed like so and so?’ Instead of being a source of pride, our degrees have become a source of embarrassment,” she said.

Fatin suggested a committee should be formed to study the predicament of unemployed women holding master’s degrees as they can help contribute to the country’s economy.

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