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Title: Saudization and skill formation for employment in the private sector
Author: Al-Shammari, Serhan Abdullah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 7837
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2009
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The development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been associated with its growing petroleum industry since late 1930s. This development has created a sudden wealth in the country that shaped its labour market as well as its skill formation systems in the years after. It has also, thanks to the government involvement, developed the country’s world class economy and its evolving private sector. However, this involvement has also created a duel labour market in which Saudis expect employment in the government while expatriates are continuously employed in private organizations. Employment in the government was always available to Saudis regardless of their qualifications which are dominated by theoretical literary majors over scientific and technical degrees. In the early days of the country’s development this did not produce major concerns to the government nor to Saudis. However, the country is producing one of the highest growth rates in the world with the majority of its citizens are under the age of 19. Government employment is always limited as the majority of employment opportunities are available in the country’s private sector. Since the late 1980s, this has generated high rates of unemployment among Saudis as government employment reached its peak and as the private sector continues in recruiting millions of cheap expatriates to increase its profits and competitiveness. This is creating an unbalanced labour market structure as well as economic, political and social problems. A number of government initiatives have been introduced to rectify such dilemma. One of which is Saudization to replace the country’s 4.7 million of expatriates recruited mainly (95%) in the private sector with as many qualified Saudis as possible. However, such efforts has not yet produced fruitful results as the private sector is still recruiting expatriates and as skill formation systems are still producing Saudis with incompatible skills, knowledge and attitudes with the private labour market needs. This research assumes that ineffective Saudization in the private sector is not the core problem of the employment process in Saudi Arabia. In fact it is the outcome of the government’s heavy and unnecessary involvement and control over skill formation systems in the Kingdom especially over the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training (GOTEVT) which is the main skill formation provider for the private labour market This involvement imposes the government’s rigid bureaucracy and limited funding on a very dynamic, flexible and self-sufficient economy like the private market in Saudi Arabia that is operating in a very competitive and changeable environment. Investigation of such argument against empirical findings from interviews with a number of government, quasigovernment and private sector managers supports such conclusion. It even illustrates that government involvement and bureaucratization is hindering the implementation of Saudization strategy itself in private organizations. Recommendations are made about changing the role of GOTEVT to create industry-led training organizations to serve and link the outcomes of this skill formation organization to the employment needs of the labour market and to the needs of the economy in general.
Supervisor: Butts, Stewart Sponsor: Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Human Resource Development ; Saudi Skill Formation ; Vocational Training ; Saudization ; Unemployment in Saudi ; GOTVET ; Petroleum industry and trade Saudi Arabia ; Skilled labor Saudi Arabia ; Unemployment Saudi Arabia