SOME Saudis still look down upon certain jobs or projects due to social stigma or a lack of proper awareness. This is why most families do not teach their children the importance of self-employment by venturing into small businesses, Al-Riyadh daily reports.
Dr. Muhammad Al-Maliji, an expert in health education and human relations, says Saudi families should instill the importance of self-employment in their children’s minds and encourage them to rely on themselves when it comes to earning.
“Families should encourage their sons and daughters to acquire sufficient experience before starting a business in a certain field. You do not want your son or daughter to start a business they have no idea about or experience in and then fail. Parents can help by developing their children’s business skills,” he said.
Maryam Al-Ghamdi, a radio show host, said many families in the Kingdom insist that their sons and daughters should find a job in the public sector because the pay is decent and there is pension, annual raises, promotions and many other perks.
“A job in the public sector brings social status and many view it from this perspective,” Al-Ghamdi said. She however said she does not hold this viewpoint and believes that fresh graduates who do not find a job in the public or private sector should start a small business.
“Many Saudis look down on certain jobs and do not even consider the idea of starting a salon or a workshop. Because of this, expatriates control the market by doing most such jobs,” she explained.
Her advice to parents is help their sons and daughters start a small business and stand by their side until they stand on their own feet. “A small business can become a big one tomorrow,” she said.
Reem Al-Shammary, a social activist, believes most families still consider a teaching position at a public school as the best in terms of job security and pay.
“Some people who had never thought of becoming teachers have decided to accept a teaching job just because of the pay and perks. Fortunately, the government has issued an order allowing a school or any public agency to dismiss an employee with poor productivity after giving him or her three years to improve and catch up,” said Al-Shammary.
Khloud Al-Nimr, a psychologist, agrees that families must explain to their sons and daughters the importance of having respect for all jobs.
“We have to teach our children all kinds of jobs and have respect for all workers, be it housemaids, drivers, street sweepers, or any other worker. It is easy to instill such values in someone’s mind at an early age,” she said.
Salwa Al-Othaidan, a trainer, called upon parents to encourage their children to start their own businesses when they grow up and explain to them it is better to be self-employed than sitting at home waiting to find the perfect job.
“The role of a family is to dispel the misconceptions or wrong ideas their children might have about work. We have social traditions that I consider are negative and have become fossilized in our minds. We need to change them,” she said.
Sahar Rajab, a counseling psychologist, said parents should raise their children to grow up and be responsible. Parents should act as counselors for their sons and daughters because they know better and have longer experience in life.
“Self-employment is the best solution to unemployment. All parents need to do is to stimulate their sons and daughters and spur them on to take the first step in the right direction,” said Rajab.