Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Employment among Saudi citizens rises above 50% mark

Saudi employment Creative Commons
Job creation for Saudi nationals – over 60% of whom are under 35 – is a top priority
  • Unemployment among citizens rose slightly in Q3
  • Females make up 37% of the Saudi labour force
  • The private sector is the pillar for employment growth

The participation rate of Saudi citizens in the labour market increased to 52.5 percent in Q3 from 49.8 percent in the same period last year, figures from the General Authority for Statistics showed.

The overall unemployment rate – which includes citizens and non-Saudi residents – remained unchanged at 5.8 percent, the data released on Thursday showed.

Unemployment among Saudi citizens saw a 0.2 percentage point rise in Q3 compared to the previous quarter, to stand at 9.9 percent.

However, this marks a fall in unemployment from 11.3 percent in the same period last year, reflecting a downward trend in unemployment among Saudis that is a key objective of the plans to transform the economy.

The overall unemployment rate includes non-Saudi residents in the kingdom who comprised just over a third of the total population in 2021, and the majority of whom need an employment contract to live there, as an expatriate.

Job creation, especially for Saudi nationals – over 60 percent of whom are under the age of 35 – is a top priority for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the country’s Vision 2030 economic transformation plan to diversify income sources.

Workforce participation among female citizens is also on the rise. Unemployment in this category fell to 20.5 percent in Q3 from 21.9 percent in the year-ago period, making up 37 percent of the Saudi labour force.

Expansion of the private sector is a key pillar of the government strategy, with a wide-ranging programme of privatisations and other government-supported initiatives to spur growth.

The latest data showed that 93.3 percent of unemployed Saudis would accept jobs in the private sector. Historically, the public sector has been the principal employer of citizens in Saudi Arabia.

Latest articles

An investor at the Dubai International Financial Market. The share prices of four of the 20 Gulf companies that listed since early 2023 have at least doubled

Stock prices of Gulf companies surge after IPOs

Most Gulf companies that completed initial public offerings (IPOs) recently have seen their market capitalisation soar, with issuers pricing flotations adroitly to bolster investor demand for their stocks after listing. From the start of 2023 there have been 20 Gulf IPOs that raised at least $100 million. Combined, these sold $11.2 billion of shares. As […]

A welder at work in Ras Al Kaimah. The northern emirates will benefit from lower electricity tariffs under a new scheme for local manufacturers in the UAE

UAE to direct additional $6bn to local manufacturers

The UAE is to direct an additional AED23 billion ($6.3 billion) to local manufacturers as it strives to develop its homegrown sectors and diversify its economy away from a reliance on hydrocarbons. Abu Dhabi state oil company Adnoc will expand its local manufacturing procurement programme for critical industrial products by AED20 billion to AED90 billion […]

Workers at a Riyadh construction site. The Tonomus competition aims to find innovation in the sector

Saudi Arabia races to find technologies for futuristic cities

Saudi Arabia is urgently seeking new technologies for its construction and real estate sectors as it races to make good on its pledge to build futuristic multi-billion-dollar cities. Tonomus, a subsidiary of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s $500 billion signature Neom development, has joined forces with the Public Investment Fund to launch a competition offering […]

Riyadh Air Comac C919

Riyadh Air not buying from China’s Comac ‘for now’

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new national carrier, will not consider China’s Comac for its narrowbody order to be announced later this year. However, the airline said it saw a future in Saudi Arabia for Comac, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, as the Chinese alternative to Boeing and Airbus.  “The narrowbody order is in its […]