900 Saudi dentists jobless when 9,000 expats work under MOH

26 dental colleges in KSA bring out 3,000 graduates each year


Many Saudi dentistry graduates are looking for better opportunities in the labor market.
Many Saudi dentistry graduates are looking for better opportunities in the labor market.

By Hussain Hazzazi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette


More than 900 Saudi dentists remain unemployed while about 9,000 expatriate dentists work in hospitals under the Ministry of Health, according to the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS).

There are 5,287 Saudis and 9,729 expatriates who are licensed to practice general dentistry in the Kingdom.

Addressing the 20th batch of the commission’s graduates in Jeddah on Tuesday, Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah reiterated his ministry’s efforts to employ Saudi dentists.

The commission said there were 3,116 dental specialists, including 1,651 Saudis of whom nine were unable to find jobs.

Al-Rabiah said his ministry agreed with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to stop recruiting dentists from abroad. He added that there was no need to hire dentists from abroad as enough number of Saudi graduates were coming out from dentistry colleges.

According to the commission, there are 26 dentistry colleges in the Kingdom of which 18 are government-run and eight in the private sector. Each year they graduate between 2,000 and 3,000 dentists.

The commission said only 25 percent of the practicing dentists in the Kingdom were Saudis, adding that about 27.5 percent of the dentistry jobs will be Saudized each year. It said 21,800 jobs would be created for Saudi dentists by 2027.

It said no new dentistry college will open until 2027 and added that the sending of Saudi students abroad to study dentistry within the scholarship program has been halted.

Dr. Rinad Al-Harbe, a Saudi female dentist, described her experience in working for a private hospital as “extremely difficult” and said the hospital was intent on getting rid of the Saudi doctors in favor of expatriates.

“The monthly salary never exceed SR4,000 for nine hours of work six days a week,” she said.

Al-Harbe resigned from the private hospital to find herself jobless while she has many family obligations to meet.

Ibrahim Ahmed, a Saudi dentist, said he cut it short from the very beginning putting his B.Sc. degree in the drawer to drive a taxi cab.

“I feel sorry and sad every time I remember the long years I spent in the college full of hope that I would become a dentist in the Health Ministry to serve my country,” he said.

Dr. Hind Abdullah, a Saudi female dentist, said she had been jobless for two years and did not know what to do with her degree.

“Whenever I apply for a job to work in a female accessory shop, they will turn me down on the pretext that they do not need dentists,” she said.