Majority of Saudis want to work in the country

UAE, 12 Nov 2005

JEDDAH - A majority of Saudi university graduates want jobs in the kingdom. They prefer to work for Saudi Aramco, and they want an average salary of SR8,000 a month, according to a study conducted by the recruitment website GulfTalent.

The study, titled 'Recruiting Top Graduates in Saudi Arabia,' said that the most important factors in deciding what company to work for are the opportunity to learn and grow, facing challenges and receiving an attractive salary.

It said that 94 per cent of recent graduates surveyed at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) would like to remain in the kingdom or return after working abroad for a few years. While 54 per cent of the graduates expressed interest in working outside the country for a few years, the vast majority stated that they would like to return after gaining some international experience. Only 6 per cent of respondents would consider permanently relocating abroad.

Although a significant number of respondents preferred to work in, or close to, their home province, this was not the dominant consideration for the majority, with only 6 per cent citing it as the most important criterion.

Other factors mentioned were the opportunity to use existing knowledge as well as job security. Less important factors, according to the survey, are the company's image and reputation and the working hours.

The report said that in order to attract the best candidates, employers in the kingdom need to formulate an attractive 'employee value proposition' a combination of provisions in the job and working environment that fully address employee career and professional aspirations. These attractive aspects of the job are not simply a good salary but also the opportunity for growth and development, the chance to do interesting and challenging work and see the impact of that work.

The report also recommends that companies consider providing international exposure to their top-performing employees, involving senior management in graduate recruiting and actively participating in university career days.

The study found that 64 per cent of those surveyed put Saudi Aramco as their first choice for employment, followed by 50 per cent for SABIC, 18 per cent for Saudi Electricity Company and 15 per cent for Saudi Telecom. Eighteen multinational companies made it onto the list of the top 30; Mobily was the only Gulf-based company on the list.

A spokesperson for said that these findings reflect strong family ties, a deep commitment to Saudi Arabia and, above all, Saudi youths' prevailing sense of optimism about the future of their country and the opportunities available to them. It also indicates that there is virtually no threat of the 'brain drain' that has been experienced by other Arab and Muslim societies.