Ensuring empowerment of women in Petromin


Saudi Gazette

WOMEN empowerment has become an essential factor in growing the economy and thus we can see an increasing numbers of Saudi women’s participation in the workforce. The Vision 2030 agenda has placed women in the center of the agenda and not only in a single goal, but all the goals engage women in order to boost social and economic development.

“In Petromin Corporation, the management and stakeholders have always believed that the private sector is a key partner in efforts to empower women and to ensure effective inclusion of women’s talents, skills and energies into all business segments,” said Samir Nawar, Petromin’s president and CEO.

“Empowering women to participate fully across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve goals for development and sustainability, and in return, improve the quality of life for women, men, families and community,” he added.

“Petromin started women employment ten years ago. We first had one female employee and at present we have 41 female employees. At the beginning, they were limited to certain departments, however, during these years and with Petromin’s expansion consequently the number of female employees has increased. In terms of tasks and performance, they have proven their competence to be equal, if not even better, to male employees,” Nawar said.

“In Petromin we give everyone the exact opportunities and support in terms of promotions, workshops, facilities or training courses and this for sure applies to all female employees, whose numbers we plan to increase in the near future. The HR and recruitment departments are setting target for the next few years to identify the fields where women could be employed in Petromin and, this is in line with Vision 2030 that states Saudi women are a ‘Great Asset’.”

“My advice to all my sisters, the females working in the corporation, is to be more patient and keep working hard to enhance their capabilities and they will always find all possible support from our side to become involved in more challenging positions and roles,” Nawar said.

Sakhr Jamjoom, vice president for human resources and marketing, also stressed the role of women and said: “In Petromin we started hiring women ten years ago. Our first female employee Razan Nassief is now working in the marketing department as marketing event manager with Petromin-Nissan, since we started our dealership with Nissan.

“Today, female employees cover good number of departments; human resources, CEO’s office, marketing, customer service call center, finance, network, public relations and corporate social responsibility (CSR).”

“Since we work in heavy industry, the challenges at present with female employees are that they are not in field jobs — such as sales nor in the plant — as the type of manufacturing is heavy industry. Hence these are the two fields where females have not been appointed, though in the future we could appoint some female employees to office work jobs within the plant.”

“Otherwise with the Vision 2030 and the stress on increasing the female workforce, we are moving in line with the Vision and are setting targets on how to increase the female percentage in Petromin. Especially with the recruiting manager being also a female. Lama Sultan, the recruitment manager, is setting targets for the next few years. She is working on different steps, first identifying the jobs that are suitable for women employees, setting the target and then finding the right females fit for those jobs”.

On how a female could be employed in Petromin, Jamjoom said: “For recruitment, we use the different social media platforms to look for candidates. Also we post the vacancies in Petromin’s website and people can apply through it. Participating in some career days is another tool for recruitment to receive many CVs by which we can approach the appropriate applicants.”

“With Petromin’s expansion ensuring the diversifying of business from lube manufacturing to automotive services to dealership we hope to reach percentage of 20-25% female employees, which is a very challenging number because it means that a lot of females will join jobs that are non-technical nor field related.”

Petromin pays wide support to all employees and as such in our recruitment policy we do not differentiate between males or females, payroll scale is the same for female and male employees. By law of course we apply the specific regulations related to women employment and when the number of female employees reaches the required number to set a day care, we will do it. The most important is that we provide the right environment so they can give their best and focus on performance and they are part of our training and development just like males,” Jamjoom added.

Renad Bakur, who started in Petromin three years ago as the CEO’s executive office manager, has been given the additional role as a public relations specialist. “I thank Samir Nawar for giving me this opportunity to work as a public relations specialist. He encouraged me to enroll and attend a public relations seminar, from which I benefited a lot. In addition, Petromin never wavered to give employees the time for postgraduate studies which in turn leads to employee’s development.”

“All women employees here in Petromin agree with me that we get the support for development and we also have the chance to move into a new department if the employee has the potential for that,” Bakur added.

On the challenges she faces at her work, Bakur said: “For me the challenges that I face add to my strength as I work in two different departments and this is an added value to my experience. In the next five years I would like to work as a public relations department manager and from my side I work hard and plan to complete my masters degree in the same field.”

Daniah Al-Saygh started as PR specialist in 2013 and now is the CSR manager. “When I started, the number of females were very few but now is growing. The management is truly eager to empower women as part of the Vision 2030 to maximize the number of females. Management is supporting females to reach top positions and give them the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and capabilities, handle projects and lead teams.”

“In my role, I handle CSR projects, which includes activities for the community internally such as promoting the concept of volunteering and the wellness program to ensure that employees are following a healthy lifestyle. Externally, as safety is another angle in our CSR programs, safety of children in cars is a program through which we educate parents about the importance of car seats.”

“The males in the firm are more accepting of female employees now than before and appreciate what we have done and what we are doing and encourage us to do more and welcome our new ideas. I am looking forward to be a director as they give us the same opportunities to be promoted as male employees,” Al-Saygh said

Afnan Bakhsh, HR coordinator who has been working in Petromin for four years, revealed that she is in charge of coordination between HR and other departments and also gets assignments to work on some projects.

“Petromin provides a healthy work environment and we all work as one team, no matter the department. The management applies an open door policy and listens to employees’ suggestions and requirements. I also receive support and coaching in HR department. Challenges that I face are minor, mainly as my previous experience was with Petromin Express in finance and tI am still new in HR field, but I am enthusiastic as I have wider opportunities in HR where I am looking forward to be assigned to higher positions.”

Hanan Al- Amoudi, head of digital department, has three years of experience in Petromin. “The management believes in female employees potentials and supports them. I can see now how management readily accepts digital marketing than before to the extent that, they implement and allocate big budgets to develop and enhance projects on social media.”

“The main challenge I had was at the beginning when colleagues were cautious and worried to assign female employees to projects. But now things have changed and have become easier. My next step is that I hope to expand my experience working for other communication departments, not only digital.”

Hamsa Gashlan is the only female in the finance department. She is a financial analyst and worked at Petromin Express for four years. Hamsa is In charge of fixed assets, insurance and OAM and petty cash of maintenance for all regions. “When I started we had about 150 stations and at present there are 800 stations, this makes the finance department one of the busiest departments. However, the male employees in finance are very supportive ever since I started. In Petromin all departments are cooperative, when the need arises for training courses, the management agrees for the development of the employee. My responsibilities are increasing since I started and I hope to be in charge of more tasks. The challenges are the usual that any employee faces.“