Why expats grab all highly-paid jobs?



SOON after learning that an expatriate worker receives a good monthly salary, people started asking on social media why Saudis are denied such high-salaried jobs? We have read many such comments on expat salaries in recent months.

I still remember a hashtag titled "Lebanese with a salary of SR900,000", which went viral. In fact, it was the man's annual salary, but he was still earning a monthly salary of SR75,000.

There was another hashtag "Expatriate with a salary of SR36,000." Previously, there was a hashtag about "A Lebanese woman at Saudia". Another social media campaign focused on a British woman who received a monthly salary of SR120,000, being the manager for strategic planning at a government authority.

Salaries for such vital jobs are very high all over the world, including Saudi Arabia. Naturally, Saudi Arabia will not be the first choice of these high-salaried executives but they come to the Kingdom due to a lack of job opportunities in their countries, which have enough number of highly qualified cadres. This situation has forced them to look for jobs in countries that lack qualified executives.

The main reason for the lack of qualified hands to take up such high-salaried jobs is the absence of specialized institutions to train people for jobs such as SAP financial accounting consultants and specialists for strategic planning.

The private sector is not interested to invest in national cadre by providing them with specialized training. They think it would take time for Saudis to obtain necessary experience in the field. At the same time, experienced and highly qualified expats are readily available to fill the vacancies.

Saudi engineering graduates currently accept support jobs due to the absence of manpower development centers. It is high time we list those high-salaried jobs at companies, banks, ministries and government departments, and open specialized institutions to train Saudis to occupy important jobs, either free of charge or for nominal fees.

The government should take initiatives to establish specialized academies with the private sector support in major cities in order for young Saudi men and women to join them easily to pursue their studies without incurring heavy expenditures. I believe that the absence specialized institutes is the main reason for expats grabbing jobs with high salaries.

There are many specialized jobs in the Kingdom, offering high salaries. It is not difficult for a young man having 10 years experience to get a monthly salary of SR45,000. But companies and government departments, instead of preparing Saudi youth for such jobs, prefer to fill them with expatriates.

Many highly-paid jobs are available but the problem is how we can prepare Saudis to take up those jobs. We have many expatriates employed in high-salaried administrative and technical jobs. They got the jobs after working hard and completing professional courses on SAP, ERP, EMC, Oracle and Cisco systems. We can find these highly paid expatriates in the private sector as well as in companies that have contracts with ministries and military sectors.

How can we ensure employment of Saudis in those jobs without establishing specialized academies and institutes and without having specialized workshops and research and development centers?

Do we know the difference between targeting mere profit and developing the national cadre and the national economy? Have we understood the dangers of imposing employment of Saudis as a condition to ensure the company's status in the green category?

Have we learned the various tricks followed to provide Saudis with low-level jobs such as secretaries, security guards and public relations officers? At the same time, is it done to cover for the issuance of work visas for expats who do the real work?

Development of general education and higher education is the key to new horizons of progress and prosperity and for Saudis to get employed in specialized and highly lucrative jobs. Saudi Arabia is in need of academies to train and prepare young Saudis for high tech jobs. It is a shame that we send our youth sto Dubai or Bahrain to learn how to read financial statements?

We have in the Kingdom hundreds of thousands of information technology devices, which are operated and maintained by expatriates. We don't have training workshops like simulation labs. Are we aware of the consequences of this negligence? We are talking not only of information technology but all other scientific, technological, medical, administrative and marketing technologies that have to be mastered by Saudis in order to land high-salaried jobs like expats.