Most expatriates think that the Saudi has no issues. He lives in a rich country that offers him everything. He sponsors people and makes money out of them and he has many “slaves” to serve him.
Saudis face challenges. Like all people. They face challenges very different from expatriates – in fact, maybe even bigger challenges.
Until a decade or so ago, a Saudi working in private firm was considered a “low” thing in this society. You either worked in the government or ARAMCO to get respect. Or you owned a business. This is not something insignificant. A Saudis whole life depends on his performance in life. His marriage. His dignity. His life. Imagine what a young man has to face as he enters the world of professions and accomplishments.
How employers fear hiring Saudis and how Saudis do not find good jobs easily is something that has been talked about extensively. Just imagine the frustration of most men and women!
An expatriate can get in the plane and go back home in the worst case; where does the Saudi go? Except to loans and despair and a demanding society.. There is nowhere to go.
I was at an iftar at a very close Saudi friends home today. An all Saudi thing. We broke the fast, relaxed , prayed together , watched TV and talked. All of them were government employees. One of them was an Army guy. A soldier.
We talked about rise in compensations and benefits for Saudis in various areas. He started losing his cool. I told him to speak up. With some senior gentlemen there , he was a bit shy. But, when they pushed him to talk also, he did. He pointed out HOW compensation was not enough. It was never enough. With startup salaries of 2-3 thousand with minimal rise, how was a man expected to provide for anything properly? He asked me : How much does an average Marketing person get in your company? 4-7000, I told him. And this would be an expatriate, as our client has insisted on expatriates plus jobs are community specific so language is a barrier. What can you do about that? I have tried.. and failed. I have wanted to have an ALL Saudi work force.. but I was unable to achieve it. If I had the Saudi, the client did not agree!
How sad is that now?
Here is YET another solution from me:
We need to have HIGH level training of Saudis. It is vital for sales teams of Saudis to speak multiple languages. Why is that not taught? It is VITAL for Saudis to throw away the ” I am a Saudi and I don’t do this” attitude. Why does the culture persist on superiority when it should NOT. It is counter productive and it is hurting the youth. I want Saudis to work in all areas, not just a few.
Why does a bank put a Saudi that does not speak more than 3-4 languages in customer service? How STUPID is that? Can’t they see that there are over 9 million expatriates living in this country? What kind of ridiculous training programs are being floated around?
Once again.. the Saudi people suffer because of this. Consider the social and cultural pressures and look at the opportunities!
Every Saudi cannot become Al Rajhi.. and Every Saudi cannot sponsor 5000 people! That is a wrong notion. Every Saudi does not get the benefits they worked for. Every Saudi does not get what many get.
The man I sat next to in this Iftar gathering admired my new thobe. He felt the cloth and liked it. I told him about the nice tailor I had found. I admired his thobe too. He looked at me and said: I have been wearing it for 8 years. I can’t just go get a new thobe every now and then, I have to think of my kids. That really made me speechless.
So, when will this end?
I cannot but present this question to the people in charge.
PLEASE: Allow foreign company registrations on condition of hiring a specific number of Saudis. PLEASE: GIVE citizenships and ENCOURAGE permanent investments. PLEASE: GIVE permanent residency to those that spend here. RULES CAN GOVERN THIS.
PLEASE: Give opportunity to SINCERE people to TRAIN the local work forces PROPERLY.
Why? Because this will increase job possibilities and open new avenues. Saudi Culture WILL NOT face ANY threat of extinction if this is DONE. Saudi CULTURE CAN be dominant even more if this is done.
There is nothing wrong with having expatriate work forces.. it is even needed and will be needed even more. GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE! The way to get the RIGHT people is to take the privilege AND BURDEN of VISA and SPONSORSHIP away from people and reserve it for the government. That way, filters can be set up and criteria maybe met. The RIGHT criteria.
I know I have written nothing new in this post. I am only repeating what I have said many times.. but every time I see the pain of frustration in someone’s eyes.. I need to share it and give my solution.