Number of expats working in Saudi’s public sector drops by 20%

There were about 60,000 expatriates working in Saudi Arabia’s public sector last year, according to new figures by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).

Among those expats, men held 29,600 jobs – a decrease of about 12.7% compared to 2016, while non-Saudi women workers held 30,800 posts – down about 7.3% in comparison to the previous year, local daily Al-Watan as reported.

This is a combined drop of 20% in the number of expats working in the kingdom’s public sector in under one year.

According to SAMA, the total number of government employees — Saudis and non-Saudis — stood at 1.23 million last year, marking a drop of about 0.8% year-on-year. Saudis constituted 95.1% of the public sector workforce.

In September last year, Saudi Arabia’s civil service ministry announced it is in the process of a plan to replace non-Saudis in all public sector roles, as part of the wider saudisation efforts.

Deputy minister of civil service Abdullah bin Ali Al-Malfi said the ministry plans to replace foreigners in at least 28,000 roles by the end of 2020.

The ministry said it held workshops with government agencies to establish a gradual timeline for transitioning foreigners out of government roles.

Al-Malfi said the majority of public sector jobs occupied by non-Saudis were in healthcare and higher education.

Several shops in Saudi Arabia are shutting down as the deadline looms for the saudisation of certain retail businesses, local media reported.

Since September 11, automobile and motorbike shops, shops selling readymade garments and children’s and men’s wear, home and office furnishing stores and household utensil outlets have to ensure that 70% of their employees are Saudi nationals.

However, the saudisation has sparked a hiring crisis as over 800,000 expats have already left.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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