Sunday, March 28, 2004

More Dancers for Saudization

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi,

The goal of Saudization is to provide more jobs to more Saudis. The best way to do so, in my opinion, is not to force more Saudis on private businesses but to improve their qualifications so they become more attractive to employers, and to increase the size of the dance floor so more dancers can fit in.
Training programs (public and private) in the areas where they are most needed will help graduates of an education system not geared to the job market to acquire skills like foreign languages, software programming and electronic maintenance.
Companies with good social service programs, like Abdul Latif Jameel, Abdul Rahman Fakieh and Alrumezan are setting up training facilities; sometimes for free, other times linked to contracts, and in the case of Jameel on interest-free loans.
Many good businessmen and women are giving away scholarships to poor students. Others are providing consulting facilities and interest-free loans in cash or kind to help them run their own small businesses.
Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabian Airlines and most banks are providing intensive training programs to new recruits with on-the-job training afterwards.
Japanese and Saudi car companies set up a sophisticated training facility, and so did the authorities of the industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu and many of their factories. The results are very encouraging.
Thousands of Saudis graduates now work in sophisticated, highly paid jobs. Many are learning that working in blue-collar jobs is not a shame. The shame is to stay unemployed waiting for office or military jobs.
Increase the dance floor means opening up to investment. We have the biggest market in the Middle East and the greatest potential for tourism. Pilgrimage alone, if properly managed, can bring millions more pilgrims and Umrah visitors.
We have the longest shorelines on the exotic Red Sea and a variety of cultural and topographic attractions in a land the size of three quarters of Europe.
All we need to do is improve our business environment with encouraging regulations, a responsive judicial system, world standard infrastructure and services, tax breaks, and easier labor movement.
With well-trained Saudis, billions of dollars worth of investment and millions of job opportunities will solve our unemployment problem without the need to force anyone in, or anyone out. Ask Dubai and Malaysia, they did exactly that.

1 comment:

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