Saudi Female Private Sector Employment Grew 10% in 2016, Ministry of Labor Says

The employment of Saudi women in the private sector increased 10 percent in 2016 over the previous year, according to the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development as reported in the Saudi Gazette.

The latest figures show a continuation of a dramatic increase in the last four years for female participation in the workplace. Based on figures provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development in March, the number of Saudi women working in the private sector has increased by 130 percent in the last four years.

From 215,000 in 2012, the number of women in the private sector jumped to 496,000 in 2016, an average of 8,500 jobs per month.The Ministry of Labor and Social Development is continuing forward with plans to localize labor. The ministry has begun taking steps to gradually localize a number of sectors “including tourism, supermarkets, health, shopping malls, groceries, car rentals offices and mobile vans selling foods and soft drinks,” according to the Saudi Gazette.

Meanwhile, an Australian-born woman who grew up in Saudi Arabia is aiming to help make it easier for women to find jobs in the Kingdom. Naziha Deriche, 23, set up a free website in March this year called “Alajnabia”, or foreigner in Arabic, with the aim of increasing the amount of women in the workforce by connecting job seekers with recruiters, according to a report on the business in Reuters.

“Most of the jobs advertised are … for males in Saudi Arabia. And the working environment is mainly very male dominated here so I felt that there was a problem, sort of a gap,” Deriche told Reuters.