Unemployment surges in Saudi Arabia

Jan 04, 2012 12:00 AM

The number of unemployed professionals is on the rise in Saudi Arabia as the country's population is growing more quickly than employment opportunities.
Thousands of healthcare graduates are among unemployed professionals in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter.

Thousands of Saudi healthcare graduates gathered outside the Health Ministry and government offices across the country to protest against Riyadh's plans to employ some 14,000 doctors and nurses in private hospitals. They said jobs in the private sector are less secure and offer poorer salaries compared to those presented by government-run hospitals and clinics.
''We don't have job security in the private sector. After three years of unemployment, we were surprised to hear the decision to send some of us to the private sector,'' unemployed Hamad Al-Shahry told.

Abdul Aziz Al-Khaneen, Ministry of Civil Service spokesman, however, has said that the Ministry of Health would employ only 4,000 of the healthcare graduates.
Saudi Arabia says it will curb unemployment by creating 1.12 mm jobs for its people by 2014 and by reducing the number of expatriate employees.

Riyadh announced in December that there are more than 700,000 unemployed men and women in the country.
While some estimates put the real jobless rate in the kingdom at 25 %, the official rate of unemployment in Saudi Arabia stands at 10 %.

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