85% of expats have only a secondary school education


Al-Riyadh newspaper

Some 85 percent of expatriate workers in the Kingdom are not educated beyond the secondary school level. This is not new information and has been reported in the press several times over the past few years.

The labor minister, however, highlighted this information recently when he said that 85 percent of non-Saudi workers in the private sectors are not educated beyond the secondary school level. This is a large number and something that can have a major impact on the private sector and the Kingdom’s Saudization programs and policies.

This information is also important when we discuss the demands of the labor market and how the majority of college graduates have qualifications that do not meet labor market requirements. It is, therefore, important to discuss this figure.

We can also use this percentage to analyze the activities of the private sector. There is another percentage that is equally important: 66 percent of businesses are active in commerce and contracting. If we look at both figures together, we will understand why we have a large number of expatriate workers who do not have qualifications beyond the secondary school level. The reason is that the business and contracting sectors do not require highly skilled workers.

There is no doubt that the 85 percent figure is a large number, and it raises an important question about the requirements of the labor market and the qualifications of college graduates. If the majority of expatriate workers who work in the private sector do not have college degrees, then how can we blame our universities and say that they do not train Saudi students well enough for the market?

Many Saudi students who studied abroad on scholarships and are back in the Kingdom are unable to find jobs despite their qualifications.

How can the private sector, in light of the current conditions, contribute to achieving the objectives of Vision 2030 and create job opportunities for Saudis?