Writing in Arab News, Abdulateef Al-Mulhim laments the work ethic of young Saudis. There are plenty of jobs in Saudi Arabia, he says; plenty of vacant jobs. While they may not be the most prestigious jobs in the world, they offer decent salaries, including flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

The problem is that in a state where many expenses are covered that are a burden in other countries, it’s not quite good enough for the unemployed youths. They appear unwilling to take jobs that their grandfathers and fathers were willing to do, but are instead satisfied to sit in coffee houses and lament their unemployed plight, paying for their coffees with their parents’ money and driving around in cars that their parents bought for them.

While this may be sustainable, economically speaking, in a time of plenty, there are no guarantees that the good times will last forever, or even a lifetime.

Saudi youth, the issue of unemployment and work ethic
Abdulateef Al-Mulhim

SAUDI Arabia has one of the highest ratios of young men and women in the world when compared to the national population. But at the sametime, expatriates are one-third of the total Saudi population. So, why do we have unemployment in a country that has the strongest economy in the region?

Economic booms don’t last forever. And since the foundation of the modern-day Saudi Arabia in 1932, the Saudi government took care of the old and the young. It provided free education, free health-care and on top of all these, did not impose income tax.

Education is free even at the university level and every student attending the university, male or female, gets a monthly allowance equal to about $ 300. As for the health care, everything is provided by the government and if the treatment is not available in one city, then he or she is transferred to a bigger medical center within the Kingdom or outside the Kingdom. Recently, the government announced an increase in the daily allowance for anyone accompanying a patient being treated outside his hometown or outside the country. In another word, if a patient is from any city outside Riyadh and is being treated at a Riyadh hospital, then the person accompanying the patient gets $ 80 a day and if the patient needs treatment outside Saudi Arabia, the person accompanying the patient gets about $ 160 a day as daily expenses. Cost of the medical care and plane tickets are paid by the government. So, it is clear that the young generation in Saudi Arabia don’t have to worry about bank loans to complete their college education. In other words, the Saudi youth are many steps ahead of others in the world.

Many young Saudis are unemployed. But, are the doors closed? No, they are not. The government has announced many measures to employ Saudis, but the efforts need cooperation between the government and the youths.


March:09:2013 - 08:14 | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink
4 Responses to “Free Lunch Supply Drying Up”
  1. 1
    Solomon2 Said:
    March:11:2013 - 21:28 

    Are there so many jobs REALLY open to young Saudi men? Don’t employers prefer to hire foreigners instead? Even if the wages and productivity are the same, employers don’t have to stick to the same social and political obligations they would have if they hired a Saudi for the job, is that not so?

  2. 2
    John Burgess Said:
    March:12:2013 - 09:02 

    @Solomon2: Right on every count. That’s why, I’m sure, the government is making it more expensive and less convenient to hire foreign workers.

  3. 3
    G Jeff Said:
    March:15:2013 - 05:06 

    Working with college age Saudi’s has led me to this conclusion. For right or wrong, this is the first generation of Saudi’s that has HAD to be ambitious. This is the first generation that has HAD to work. Jobs, good jobs seem to have been practically given away in the past while the government also provided a great deal of money to its citizens for just about everything. While I agree that there is a work ethic problem, I think they deserve a little understanding. While its not broadcast because of the economic downturn, the Millenials in the US are commonly accused of having the same problems in terms of work ethic.

  4. 4
    John Burgess Said:
    March:20:2013 - 11:39 

    @G Jeff: Actually, it’s only been about two generations of Saudis who could count on the government’s finding them jobs. Before oil, Saudis worked or starved. No work was particularly beneath them, though those from Bedouin backgrounds did object to ‘city’ jobs where they’re be more in service than in charge.

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