Why don’t people trust Saudi workers?


Al-Jazirah daily

If you go to a barbershop in Riyadh, you will notice that many Moroccan barbers have their hairdressing diplomas displayed on the wall together with medals they were awarded. These diplomas are similar to doctor’s diplomas which make a patient feel comfortable and reassured that he is in safe hands and that the doctor is a professional who has expertise in his field.

The same thing applies to barbers. Many customers feel comfortable when they go into a barbershop and see these diplomas. They feel they are in safe hands and that there is no need to worry that the barber might be a novice. I have been to several barbershops run by Moroccans. Some of them have hairdressing diplomas from Fédération Nationale de la Coiffure au Maroc, which is the national federation of hairdressing in Morocco. The federation is accredited by the Moroccan Ministry of Industry. Some barbers have high diplomas from specialized hairdressing centers in Morocco.

All these barbers have a lot of regular customers. The only thing that bothers them is unprofessional barbers who do not have diplomas but still run barbershops in the market due to the absence of strict regulations. In their opinion, these unprofessional barbers are dangerous because they learned the trade during on-the-job training and have not had any extensive training in the field. Still, those unprofessional barbers earn thousands of riyals. The Moroccan barbers are mad because no qualification and training is required in the Kingdom in order to be given a license to practice hairdressing as a trade.

The job market suffers from the lack of proper regulations for jobs like plumbing, hairdressing, cooking and the like. Our streets are full of unprofessional plumbers, barbers and electricians and our restaurants and cafeterias have untrained cooks. This fact makes one wonder what the exact role of the licensing authorities can be. As Saudis, do we care more about finding someone who is skilled at his work or about finding someone who can do the job quickly regardless of whether he is skilled or not?

I do not know the answer to this question. However, I do know that most people do not trust young Saudi men and always ask if the young men have qualifications and diplomas and all that it takes to do the job. For example, when the Ministry of Labor Saudized the communications market, many people were hesitant about entrusting a Saudi technician to fix a cell phone. The sad thing is that many people do not ask expatriate workers about their diplomas and assume in advance that an expat worker has the training and skills to do the required job. Do we have a trust crisis here?