By FATIMA MUHAMMAD
JEDDAH — The women empowerment department in the Ministry of Labor and Social Development faces number of challenges in getting women who are registered for social security benefits to join the work force.
One of the major impediments the department faces is the absence of awareness among women about the importance of work.
“Many women tend to hesitate to join work because they fear losing the payouts they receive in social security benefits,” said Asma Al-Khamis, head of the women empowerment department in the Social Security division of the ministry.
In addition, some regions of the Kingdom lack training facilities and job opportunities, she said.
“The absence of facilities like transportation and baby care along with low salaries and long working hours are other factors that prevent women from accepting job offers,” Al-Khamis said.
She stressed that all women registered at the Social Security are required to update their information regularly to be able to inform them of job opportunities offered by the empowerment department.
Al-Khamis emphasized the importance of the participation of the private sector in providing job opportunities for women registered at the Social Security. “These women need to move from their pastoral life to contributing to the national development,” she said, adding that they aim to provide these women with education and training to prepare them for the job market.
Meanwhile, a press statement issued by Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry said employment opportunities for Saudi women grew by 130 percent in 2016, compared to 2012 when the growth rate was only 28 percent. Some 496,000 jobs were offered to women by the end of the third quarter of 2016 and 21.5 percent of them were in Makkah and Jeddah.
In Makkah, the chamber along with Bab Rizq Jameel found jobs in eight sectors and some 300 candidates were selected for employment in 22 establishments.
Ibrahim Bardisi, secretary-general of the Makkah chamber, said in cooperation with the private sector, they created between 300 and 500 job opportunities annually in each of the nine sectors they offer employment.
These jobs, he said, are provided through cooperation with strategic partners who include the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and private sector establishments.
Yasir Hassanian, head of Tawtin (nationalization of jobs) at the chamber, said they offered jobs in hotels and tourism, hospitals, sales, safety and security, and marketing in addition to distance jobs.