Unemployment In Saudi Arabia: Impact Of Foreign Workers On The Saudi Labor Force
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Despite its vast economic resources, Saudi Arabia grapples with a high unemployment situation that has, over the past decade, seen Saudi authorities introducing a series of policies and programs aimed at addressing the situation. In light of current realities in the global oil market, regional political developments, as well as other domestic socio-cultural and demography related realities with significant consequences for overall economic outlook, these deserve greater urgency. This thesis aims to help contribute to these efforts. It examines the unemployment scenario in Saudi Arabia primarily as it affects Saudi citizens. Examining data from 1999 to 2014, results show that while Saudi unemployment levels continue to rise as a general trend, the unemployment rate for foreign workers, while significantly much lower than the Saudi rate, also tends to project a generally downward trend as against the generally upward trend for Saudi citizens. The study found that the current two-tier system of the Saudi labor force—foreign workers in the private sector and Saudi citizens in the public sector—is unsustainable. Accordingly, significant reforms aimed at properly educating the Saudi citizenry, coupled with important cultural shifts, are required not only to address the unemployment conundrum, but also to help lay the ground work for a 21st century post-oil diversified Saudi economy.