Saudi employment numbers improve (2023)

Saudi Arabia reported decreases in its unemployment rates today.

The unemployment rate for Saudi citizens in the country (not including foreigners) was 9.7% in the second quarter of 2022, down 0.4% from the first quarter. The unemployment rate for men fell 0.3% to 4.7%. The rate for women fell 0.9% to 19.3%. Saudi Arabia’s overall unemployment rate including foreigners was 5.8% in the second quarter, the General Authority for Statistics said in a release.

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Why it matters: The number of women in the Saudi workforce has increased dramatically in recent years. In the past five years, the percentage of Saudi women in the workforce has doubled to 35%, the Saudi government said in May.

While unemployment for women remains relatively high, Bloomberg reported today that the 19.3% unemployment rate for women is the lowest on record.

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Know more: Saudi Arabia’s overall unemployment rate was higher than that of its Gulf neighbors at the end of 2021. Saudi unemployment at the end of the year stood at 7.4% — the same as at the end of 2020. Unemployment increased from 5.7% to 7.4% from 2019 to 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Arab Emirates’ unemployment rate was 3.4% at the end of 2021, while Bahrain’s was 1.9% and Qatar’s was only 0.3%, according to data from The World Bank.

Population size is one reason Saudi Arabia has had higher unemployment rates than its Gulf neighbors, according to one scholar at the DC-based Arab Gulf States Institute.

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"The combination of a large population and a significant youth bulge means a steady flow of new entrants into the job market each year. Absorbing all of these jobseekers is no easy task," Dr. Robert C. Mogielnicki told Al-Monitor.

There are other positive indications in the Saudi job market. The government is incentivizing women to join the workforce and has reduced restrictions on foreign workers switching jobs. More workers are switching sectors to find better pay, and the economy is being helped by higher oil prices, according to a January report from the DC-based think tank theBrookings Institution.

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Columbia University scholar and Al-Monitor contributor Karen E. Young said that Saudi Arabia has had some success with regards to women entering the workforce.

"The general trend has been a real increase in working women, one of the more successful aspects of the reforms of the last six years," she told Al-Monitor.

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Mogielnicki expressed a similar view.

"With respect to Saudi women and their job prospects, it seems like Saudi officials are making progress increasing female participation in the labor force," said Mogielnicki. "This makes sense, as the economic and social transformations underway in the country are expanding opportunities for female workers.”

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Editor's note: this article was edited to include comments from scholars.


Does Saudi Arabia have high employment rate? ›

Unemployment Rate in Saudi Arabia averaged 5.87 percent from 1999 until 2022, reaching an all time high of 9.00 percent in the second quarter of 2020 and a record low of 4.35 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999.

Why does Saudi Arabia have high unemployment? ›

Population size is one reason Saudi Arabia has had higher unemployment rates than its Gulf neighbors, according to one scholar at the DC-based Arab Gulf States Institute. "The combination of a large population and a significant youth bulge means a steady flow of new entrants into the job market each year.

How can employment levels be improved? ›

Your employability can be increased through education, work experience, and personal improvement. Any endeavor that broadens your knowledge and skills that an employer believes will benefit their company will increase your employability.

What is the main reason for the reduction of employment opportunities in Saudi Arabia? ›

The first cause is a population explosion that has led to an increase in the number of graduates who have lowered the level of planning and drawing up of general strategies [8]. The second reason is an increase in foreign labor; some companies believe that foreigners have better skills and experience than Saudis [9].

What is the employment rate of Saudi Arabia? ›

Unemployment refers to the share of the labor force that is without work but available for and seeking employment. Saudi Arabia unemployment rate for 2021 was 7.36%, a 0.09% decline from 2020.

What are the weaknesses of the Saudi economy? ›

With regard to our proprietary Environmental Sustainability index, Saudi Arabia ranks only 166th out of 210 economies, reflecting particular weaknesses in renewable electricity output, water stress and the recycling rate.

What is the biggest problem in Saudi Arabia? ›

Saudi Arabia is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because it lacks permanent water resources relying on groundwater and energy-intensive desalination plants.

Why does Saudi Arabia have so many foreign workers? ›

Background and history. Saudi Arabia was one of the poorest and most undeveloped countries in the world when oil was discovered in the late 1930s. The country therefore needed foreign expertise and labour to exploit its vast oil reserves.

Why is Saudi Arabia so successful? ›

The economy of Saudi Arabia is dominated by petroleum and its associated industries. In terms of oil reserves, Saudi Arabia ranks first internationally, with about one-fifth of the world's known reserves.

How do you solve low employment rate? ›

Measures to solve unemployment problems include changes in industrial techniques, policies regarding seasonal unemployment, change in the education system, expansion of employment exchanges, more assistance to self-employed people, emphasis on full and more productive employment, an increase in production rate, and ...

Why do we need to increase the employment rate? ›

Economically, employment provides income to poor families, revives domestic demand for goods and services, and stimulates overall growth. Socially, employment can also promote social healing, encourage the return of displaced persons, and improve social welfare in the long run.

How can we reduce unemployment rate? ›

Expansionary Monetary Policy to Reduce Unemployment

The goal of expansionary monetary policy is to increase aggregate demand and economic growth through cutting interest rates. Lower interest rates mean that the cost of borrowing is lower. When it's easier to borrow money, people spend more money and invest more.

Why are there employment shortages? ›

What's causing a labor shortage? This shortage is because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors like the “great resignation,” which both left 10 million job openings but only about 5 million unemployed workers to fill them, per the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

What causes unemployment to increase or decrease? ›

And when economic activity is low, firms reduce their workforce and unemployment rises. In that sense, unemployment is countercyclical, meaning it rises when economic growth is low and vice versa. But unemployment does not fall in lockstep with an increase in growth.

What is the reason for low employment? ›

Inadequate Economic Growth

This means that as the population increases, the economy cannot keep up with demands for employment and an increasing share of people are unable to find work.

What is Saudi unemployment rate? ›

Key information about Saudi Arabia Unemployment Rate

Saudi Arabia Unemployment Rate dropped to 5.81% in Jun 2022, from the previously reported figure of 6.01% in Mar 2022. Saudi Arabia Unemployment Rate is updated quarterly, available from Mar 2012 to Jun 2022, with an average rate of 5.77%.

Which country has the best employment rate? ›

The adult employment rate in 2021 was higher in the Netherlands than any other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country, at 80.1 percent.
Employment rate in OECD countries in 2021.
CharacteristicEmployment rate
9 more rows
Aug 5, 2022

What is a good employment rate? ›

In general, most experts deem unemployment between 3% and 5% to be ideal, though there is no single consensus on what constitutes healthy unemployment.

What does Saudi Arabia lack in? ›

Saudi Arabia is a desert country with no permanent rivers or lakes and very little rainfall. Water is scarce and extremely valuable, and with the country's rapid growth, the demand for water is increasing. The Kingdom, therefore, has turned to innovative ways to provide enough water to support its development.

How is Saudi economy doing? ›

In the first quarter of 2019, Saudi Arabia's budget had its first surplus since 2016. This surplus of $10.10 billion was achieved due to an increase in oil and non-oil revenues.
Economy of Saudi Arabia.
GDP growth3.2% (2021) 7.6% (2022f) 3.7% (2023f)
GDP per capita$27,941 (nominal; 2022) $55,802 (PPP; 2022)
35 more rows

What are current issues in Saudi Arabia? ›

2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Saudi Arabia
  • a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and Other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings.
  • Prison and Detention Center Conditions.
  • Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees.
  • Trial Procedures. Political Prisoners and Detainees. ...
  • g. Conflict-related Abuses.

Can a woman drive a car in Saudi Arabia? ›

Saudi Arabia was the last country in the world to repeal its ban on women drivers. In June 2018, women were allowed to drive again in the Kingdom following a 30-year prohibition.

How hard is it to do business in Saudi Arabia? ›

The World Bank ranks Saudi Arabia as 63/190 for ease of doing business. It's important to remember however that doing business anywhere is much easier with the right local partner and most importantly, dependable local employees.

How many Americans work in Saudi Arabia? ›

There are an estimated 40,000 Americans living in Saudi Arabia.

Why is US interested in Saudi Arabia? ›

The core logic underpinning the relationship is that the United States of America (USA) provides military protection of the Kingdom in exchange for a reliable oil supply from the Saudis, pricing of oil in USA dollars, and Saudi support for American foreign policy operations across the world.

Why do people leave Saudi Arabia? ›

Hundreds of thousands of expats have left Saudi Arabia since the start of the year, with more than a thousand per day quitting or losing their jobs in the region, as the kingdom's plans to drive out expats and increase work opportunities for Saudi nationals take shape.

What is Saudi Arabia competitive advantage? ›

The kingdom's vast oil reserves, which dominates the Saudi economy, presently constitute approximately 26 percent of the world's total. As the world leader in proven reserves as well as in production and exports, Saudi Arabia relies heavily on oil.

What is Saudi Arabia's main source of income? ›

It has evolved from a basic agricultural society into a regional and global economic power with a modern infrastructure. Petroleum is an integral part of the Saudi economy; Saudi Arabia is the world's largest producer and exporter of oil.

Is Saudi economy growing? ›

In October, the International Monetary Fund, in its World Economic Outlook Report, noted that Saudi Arabia is expected to grow by 7.6 percent in 2022 and 3.7 percent in 2023.

How increase employment can reduce poverty? ›

The most immediate benefit of a good job is obvious: Stable and living-wage income critically contributes to poverty alleviation. By definition, those living in poverty lack the minimum level of income to consistently secure such basic necessities as food and housing.

What happens if employment rates increase? ›

It's no secret that employment is a key component of economic growth. When people have jobs, they have money to spend on goods and services, which helps businesses grow and create more jobs. Countries with low unemployment rates will always be more economically viable than those with high unemployment rates.

Is increased employment good? ›

A low unemployment rate is a positive economic indicator. Those who are employed tend to spend more money which stimulates business growth. However, there can be a point of diminishing returns where too much unemployment can be damaging. Full employment is the optimal point without driving inflation.

What are five ways to overcome unemployment? ›

Here we detail about the six employment strategies used to reduce employment.
  • Strategy 1# Use of Labour-intensive Technology:
  • Strategy 2# Accelerating Investment in Agriculture:
  • Strategy 3# Diversification of Agriculture:
  • Strategy 4# Labour-Intensive Industrial Growth:
  • Strategy 5# Services and Employment Growth:

What is government doing for unemployment? ›

Answer: Various schemes include Ayushman Bharat, Prime Minister Awaas Yojana - Gramin, Schemes for Unemployed Women, Atal Pension Yojana, Social security relief to dependents of workers passing away due to COVID-19, Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise, etc.

How does the government overcome unemployment? ›

“Besides purposed grants and loan schemes, the government could collaborate with the private sector to set up more business incubators and support facilities, including research and development commercialisation ventures with public and private universities,” he explains.

Why is it so hard to hire right now 2022? ›

The No. 1 reason businesses struggle to fill open jobs is that wages are too low, according to a survey of more than 3,000 hourly workers conducted by employer payment platform Branch. Fear of exposure to Covid-19 at work came in second with 46% of the vote.

Why are Americans not working? ›

The single most common reason why prime-age Americans say they're not working right now is caregiving. More than 26 percent of nonworking Americans aren't working because they're taking care of relatives or a household. The second-most common reason is health.

Does America have a labor shortage? ›

We hear every day from our member companies—of every size and industry, across nearly every state—they're facing unprecedented challenges trying to find enough workers to fill open jobs. Right now, the latest data shows that we have over 10 million job openings in the U.S.—but only around 6 million unemployed workers.

Is unemployment good for the economy? ›

A high unemployment rate affects the economy in many ways. Unemployed people tend to spend less, may accrue more debt, and unemployment may lead to higher payments from state and federal governments for things like food stamps.

Who is responsible for unemployment? ›

The Central government is responsible for this unemployment emergency." Mr Kharge also tweeted, "Twenty-four per cent increase in suicides due to unemployment. Eighty-four per cent of families saw a decline in income.

Why is the unemployment rate still so high? ›

People left the labor force for various reasons during the pandemic, including illness, child care and other family responsibilities, and early retirement. Now, there are more people looking for work and they're officially counted as unemployed, which has had the effect of nudging up the jobless rate.

What are 6 causes of unemployment? ›

What Are the Main Causes of Unemployment? There are a number of reasons for unemployment. These include recessions, depressions, technological improvements, job outsourcing, and voluntarily leaving one job to find another.

Who has the lowest employment rate? ›

In 2021, the Palestinian Territories had the lowest employment-to-population ratio worldwide at less than 32 percent. Iraq had the second lowest ratio, whereas Morocco, South Africa, and Moldova all had just below 40 percent.

Is it hard to get a job in Saudi Arabia? ›

It can be difficult to land a job in Saudi Arabia straight after you graduate, as its policy is only to permit recruitment of foreign nationals who bring in specialist skills where there is a shortage.

Is Saudi Arabia a high or low income country? ›

Low-income economies — GNI per capita of up to $1,085 in 2021 (in USD) Lower-middle-income economies — GNI per capita of $1,086 to $4,255.
High-Income Countries 2023.
CountryGNI per capita (Atlas method, current US$)GNI per capita (PPP, INT$)
Saudi Arabia$22,270$47,700
77 more rows

Which country has high employment rate? ›

How Is the Unemployment Rate Calculated?
CountryEmployment Rate in 2017Employment Rate in 2018
6 more rows
Oct 14, 2022

Is Saudi Arabia high or low income? ›

Considering the purchasing power parity, Saudi Arabia is among the 30 richest countries in the world and, with an average annual income of 21,540 USD is one of the high-income countries.

Which job is most demand in Saudi Arabia? ›

High In Demand Jobs in Saudi Arabia
  • Create Job Alert Get similar jobs by email.
  • Sales Service Advisor – Taif– استشاري مبيعات و صيانة – الطائف ...
  • Product Specialist. ...
  • Product Specialist. ...
  • Chief Commercial Officer. ...
  • DT Infrastructure and Security Manager. ...
  • Customer Service & Logistic Manager.

Can an American work in Saudi Arabia? ›

US citizens seeking employment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia need a Work Visa prior to entering the Kingdom. Obtaining a Work Visa is a complex and lengthy process and may take four to six weeks.

Is working in Saudi Arabia worth it? ›

Expats in Saudi Arabia earn very high salaries compared to other countries in the Gulf region. Most employers also provide housing and education allowances, medical insurance and annual air tickets home.

How much of Saudi is in poverty? ›

The Saudi family is the richest royal family in the world, with a net worth of around $1.4 trillion due to plentiful oil reserves, yet the country itself can be considered poor, with an estimated 20 percent of its people living in poverty.

Do people in Saudi Arabia live in poverty? ›

The country is highly urbanized with close to 85 percent of citizens living in cities and many impoverished citizens, estimated to be around four million Saudis, reside in slums on the outskirts of those cities. Saudis who do not even live in the slums still struggle to afford the home in the cities.

What country has lowest employment? ›

In 2021, the Palestinian Territories had the lowest employment-to-population ratio worldwide at less than 32 percent. Iraq had the second lowest ratio, whereas Morocco, South Africa, and Moldova all had just below 40 percent. On the other hand, Qatar had the highest labor force participation rate.

Which country has lowest employment rate? ›

Unemployment rate forecast - Country rankings

The highest value was in South Africa: 34.63 percent and the lowest value was in Thailand: 1 percent. The indicator is available from 1980 to 2027. Below is a chart for all countries where data are available.

What countries are the most overworked? ›

Here are the 10 most overworked countries:
  • Russia - 1972 work hours per year.
  • Greece - 1956 work hours per year.
  • Chile - 1941 work hours per year.
  • Israel - 1910.13 work hours per year.
  • Poland - 1792 work hours per year.
  • Czech Republic - 1792 work hours per year.
  • United States - 1786 work hours per year.

What is a good wage in Saudi Arabia? ›

The average resident salary in Saudi Arabia is 270,000 SAR per year or 108 SAR per hour. Entry-level positions start at 196,500 SAR per year, while most experienced workers make up to 427,500 SAR per year.

Is living in Saudi Arabia hard? ›

Moving to Saudi Arabia can be daunting, even if you're a seasoned expat. It's a conservative Islamic country and you'll probably find that many customs from back home are more strictly regulated. The culture shock can be tempered by living in an expat compound.

Are taxes high in Saudi Arabia? ›

In the long-term, the Saudi Arabia Sales Tax Rate - VAT is projected to trend around 10.00 percent in 2023, according to our econometric models.


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