RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has started paying dividends, with the Kingdom’s overall unemployment rate declining to 4.9 percent in the second quarter of this year, a dip of 0.2 percentage points compared to the previous three months, official data showed.
The report released by the General Authority for Statistics revealed that the rate of joblessness among Saudi nationals reached 8.3 percent in the second quarter, dropping 0.2 percentage points compared to the first quarter of this year.
The overall unemployment rate in the Kingdom decreased by 1.4 percentage points in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2022, the report added.
The GASTAT data further revealed that Saudi Arabia’s employment-to-population ratio decreased by 0.6 percentage points in the second quarter to hit 47.4 percent compared to the previous quarter.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has set ambitious targets for the joblessness rate to drop to 7 percent by the end of the decade, alongside a predicted women’s participation rate in the workforce of 30 percent.
According to the GASTAT report, the unemployment rate among Saudi females decreased to 15.7 percent, down by 0.4 percentage points from the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the rate among Saudi males remained unchanged at 4.6 percent in the second quarter.
The report also acknowledged that a significant 95.3 percent of unemployed Saudis are open to job opportunities in the private sector.
Regarding commuting preferences, the GASTAT survey revealed that 58.9 percent of Saudi females without jobs and 44.9 percent of unemployed Saudi males would be willing to commute for a maximum of one hour.
Furthermore, 75 percent of such Saudi females and 90 percent of Saudi males who are jobless expressed their readiness to work for eight hours or more each day.
Among Saudi job seekers, the most commonly used active search method was seeking assistance from friends and relatives, with 85.6 percent of aspirants using this method. Some 70.9 percent applied directly to employers, while 61.3 percent utilized the National Employment Platform, known as Jadarat.
Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah announced that the cooperation agreement between his ministry and the Human Resources Development Fund had boosted employment support in the cultural sector from 30 percent to 50 percent.
“This initiative was introduced, in cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and the Human Resources Development Fund under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, to enhance professional sustainability in the cultural sectors,” said the minister.
He further added that the supported cultural professions encompassed a wide range of jobs in language, books and publishing as well as libraries, fashion arts, theatre, and performing arts.