Mixed Picture for Saudi Labor Market as Unemployment in Kingdom Hits 4-Year High

Saudi unemployment rose to a four-year high despite overall employment growth remaining positive, the Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment finds in a report on the Saudi labor market.

The report is a mixed picture for Saudi Arabia. For example, during the first three quarters of 2016, total net employment in the Kingdom saw a “significant rise” of 892, 000, compared with a 417,000 increase between 2014 and 2015. But 95 percent of these positions went to non-Saudis.

A breakdown of Saudi v. Non-Saudi employment.

A breakdown of Saudi v. Non-Saudi employment.

Although Saudis are increasingly entering the workforce vs. non-Saudis, with participation reaching 42 percent, the improvement in the Saudi participation rate was associated with “an irregular decline in the number of Saudis outside the labor force, which led to a significant fall in the Saudi working-age population,” Jadwa said.

Within the Saudi labor force, female unemployment rose faster than male employment.

Saudi Arabia is hoping to make gains in employment rates for Saudi citizens both as part of its Nitaqat program and with its far-reaching and ambitious Vision 2030 economic plan.

[Click here to read the full report from Jadwa Investment] [In Arabic]