Unemployment among Saudi nationals has risen to around two million, with Arab News
citing eight million Saudis requiring employment in the next two decades. Yet the Kingdom's Saudization programme, which aims to encourage more Saudi nationals into the workplace, is not proving effective.
In an interview with Gulf Business
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud warned that unemployment in the Kingdom is a "time bomb" exacerbated by 10 to 11 million expatriate workers. Prince Alwaleed said continuing employing expatriate workers in the face of Saudi unemployment "does not make sense and has to be stopped."
He added it was too easy to hire expatriates, saying "This is very unfortunate and dangerous. We should have a system that would make it more difficult to hire people from outside."
The prince advocates replacing expatriate workers with trained Saudis in the coming years. The Saudization programme has begun to encourage more Saudi women into the workplace. However, Zawya
cited a study of 16,000 unemployed Saudis (82 percent female) which shows 49 percent have never applied for a job. Unemployment is higher for Saudi women than men, as there are many obstacles to them entering the workforce due to strict segregation laws.