Saudi dentists struggle to find jobs despite high demand


By Hussain Hazazi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Many Saudi dentists are unemployed despite the Ministry of Health’s decision to cease the recruitment of non-Saudi dentists in both private and public health institutions.

Saudi dentists took to Twitter to express their disappointment, saying that even though there is a need for dentists in the market, expatriates still dominate the field.

They also said that many of them have graduated with honorary degrees and have passed the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties’ examinations but are enlisted on a wait list for jobs.

Dentist Shahad Hakim said she graduated from King Abdulaziz University.

“I was confident that if the Ministry of Health did not accept my application, other public hospitals will. But I was shocked to be told that they have no need for dentists.

“I left Jeddah and went to Riyadh thinking I will have better luck there, but things were worse. I applied to all of public hospitals there.

“I had to settle for a job in the private sector until one in the public sector opens up for me,” said Hakim.

Statistics show that there are 26 dentistry colleges in the Kingdom. A total of 3,000 dentists graduate from these colleges every year. There are 2,525 non-Saudi dentists working in clinics.

Statistics also show that there is a need for 3,500 dentists in 2,280 health centers in various areas in the Kingdom. Dentists are also needed in dental clinics, medial cities and military hospitals.

The Ministry of Health recently signed an agreement with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to cease the recruitment of non-Saudi dentists in order to open up job opportunities for Saudis.