Stigmas prevent Saudis from working as barbers

Young Saudis said they are reluctant to work as barbers due to society's negative view of the profession

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Young Saudis said they are reluctant to work as barbers due to society's negative view of the profession.

Hisham al-Shareef and Yousef al-Qahtani said some youths believed such a profession would cause them to be stigmatized.

Musheed Al-Zyadi said in his opinion, the potential income from this profession was simply not enough. He did not believe that a barber makes enough money in addition to the ridicule Saudis who are considering to enter this profession may face from society, their friends and even relatives.

Abdulrahim al-Ahmadi believed some youths do not consider such a profession to be up to their standards and ambitions.

“In addition, there are no colleges or institutes that teach such a profession, but if youths receive encouragement and support from society, they may change their perception of hairdressing.”

Mohammad Basuwaid said that young men should be encouraged to venture into this profession as there are plenty of job opportunities available. “However, they must be encouraged by society and should view this profession as an honorable job, not a demeaning one.”

He noted that he saw only one Saudi barber in the many barbershops he visited, but even he disappeared after some time.

Basuwaid added he had noticed the Saudi barber was getting annoyed with his customers’ curiosity and questions over his nationality.

Hasan Naseef said when he was in France for his master's in international law, he thought of attending a college to learn the profession, but as a hobby. He said he hopes to develop his skills and open a barbershop in the future.

Meanwhile, a number of barbers have said that they make good money from their profession.

Murad Mohammad said his barbershop makes SR20,000 to SR30,000 a month.

Tarek Al-Haraqi said income differs from one shop to another based on location and the type of customers. However, he added, he makes around SR5,000 month, which increases during peak seasons.

Khalid Umran and Mohammad Mustafa said this is a profitable profession that depends on skill and concentration.

During their long experience in the profession, they said they met some Saudi youths who were willing to work as barbers if only society would change its view of the profession.

(This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on Jan. 8, 2014)

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