Monday, July 06, 2009

Employment Opportunities and Prospects

Interesting little blurb today on how The Sandbox is going to have to cast a wider net to find workers "in the face of reluctance from many countries to join the list of providers." The Deputy Minister of Labor says "that many countries in discussion with the National Recruitment Committee over domestic labor recruitment had expressed their concern over 'sensitive issues' in sending labor..." Hmm. "Sensitive issues." What is he referring to?

Perhaps issues that have to do with how happy domestic workers are? Like this domestic worker, a maid, who gulped down laundry soap in lieu of champagne to toast her happiness. Or, like this one, another maid, who was willing to jump for joy off a ledge four-stories high.

A campaign has been launched by some 5,000 men and women. Their slogan is "Saudi Arabia is only for Saudis." They want jobs in the "public and private sectors," and "especially those jobs that Saudis are able to fill." Apparently an article in the Labor Law "mentions that foreigners should not be recruited except in rare specializations." Rare specializations, as in domestic labor? You can't begrudge these men and women from wanting jobs, but some of their demands are just a bit over the top for anyone just starting out. They want a minimum salary of SR3,000 [per month?] for Saudis. [Is there a minimum wage, here? I don't think so.] They also want "annual vacation tickets" and "health insurance coverage for themselves and their family members." Annual vacation tickets. To where? And, at what cost? Wow. That's not asking for too much, is it!?! And, health insurance coverage. The health insurance - like any other coverage that is standard - should be provided for the employee. You want coverage for your family, then you should pay for it. DH has coverage through the company he works for; I am covered by the same plan. We pay a monthly premium for this coverage. It is not free. They also want for Saudization to cover all jobs, "not only menial jobs." Has anyone considered that for the majority of jobs that are not "menial" a college education is required? You cannot become a doctor if you do not go to medical school. You probably do not go into a company as a CEO if you have not attended business school. More than a high-school education is necessary for most professions that are not "menial." [Getting a secondary education should not be a problem. This says that there are 18,700 Saudi students in the US "on scholarships."] What if the US had a slogan to the effect that "US schools are only for US citizens." You know, like the "Saudi Arabia is only for Saudis." Those 18,700 students would be "sol." "The aim of this campaign is to enable qualified Saudis [to be] employed in jobs that are currently occupied by foreigners." With the exception of laborers and domestic workers, what foreigners are here that do not have a secondary education or advanced degrees?

Who knew there was a Happy Planet Index?! Saudi Arabia comes in at number 13 out of the top 15 contenders. The United States comes in at 114 out of the 143 countries listed. Yeah. Sure. Has to do with carbon footprints and all that gobbly-gook. The report is 64 pages long. You want to read it? Go for it. Your prerogative. Personally, I'm not even remotely interested in the current fad of junk science, global warming crap. [Found it at Fausta's place.]


  1. Oman has a very active Omanization plan in place which is implemented with all zeal and vigor. Heavy Duty Vehicles (less than 4 tonnes) cannot be driven by non-Omanis, commercial (company owned) vehicles cannot be driven by non-Omanis, local mom-n-pop foodstuff stores cannot be operated by non-Omanis, the immigration and naturalization govt. offices cannot be 'entered' by non-Omanis.
    Result: The accident rate of heavy duty & commercial vehicles has increased five-fold. Seeing overturned vehicle-towing-vehicles and water-tankers is a common sight now. There are almost no mom-n-pop foodstuff stores in Oman anymore. 90% have been forced to close down forcing all the traffic to CarreFour, Lulu and such. Buying a loaf of bread has become a 40 minute exercise.

    Sure, let them implement Saudization, just remind them that jobs are not all about salaries and perks and tickets.... sometimes you have to work too!


  2. They've been working on the Saudization plan since we got here. All taxi drivers were going to be Saudis. That didn't work out very well. People couldn't get cabs as the drivers just didn't show up for work if they didn't feel like it. Ditto for travel agencies where all workers were going to be Saudis. The Qatar office, here, has six or seven workers - all but two are Saudi. Only two of them do the actual work. This I have seen for myself - having been there several times, now. I think the gold stores were only going to employ Saudis - but I'm not 100% sure on this one.

    You hit the nail on the head, farkknight, "Sure, let them implement Saudization, just remind them that jobs are not all about salaries and perks and tickets.... sometimes you have to work too!"

    That said, I will say that for the 50% that choose not to work at their job - and there are those, for sure - the other 50% that do choose to do their jobs do them well. DH works with some very hard working Saudis! I have had the opportunity to deal with some of them here, as well. If our housing guy didn't work as hard as he did - we wouldn't have been able to move into this house.

  3. I've seen that "Happy Planet" thing elsewhere. It seems to be heavily weighted to "if there is no opportunity to do something you have not been ordered to do, there is less stress, so obviously you will be happier." That is, slaves are the happiest of all, followed by those who cannot find work... Or, revival of "The Noble Savage" theme whereby if you spend every waking moment getting food you do not have to worry about anything else, and having only one thing to worry about is better than having three or more.

    - - - -
    "Employment is the right of every Saudi"
    Employment is not a "right," albeit not exactly a privilege. This holds for many things that even in the US some regard as "rights" such as housing, health care, etc. Most of these were not even considered to be a concern of governments until roughly the last century.

    Yes, I am glad US and other] government has established programs to trying to ensire most of us are fed and housed - heck, after a long illness during which I lost everything everything (which took five years, not as if I went on the dole immediately) I am grateful my fellow citizens pay for basics, but even I think they pay too much and too much is wasted.

    OTOH, they may have a couple of points. If there is little or no training on offer in-country skills must be imported, but this may mean those locals who can and want to do the work are frozen out. Some of the long-established occupations, such as carpentry and masonry, largely solved this ages ago through the apprenticeship process but newer occupations have come to feel it the job of formal and usually tax-supported institutions.

  4. There are lots of job openings, but companies can be selective, and depending on the need, one can take their time in finding the right candidate.


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