The number of Saudi women working in the private sector has increased by 130 percent in the last four years, a local study indicates. According to a report in Saudi daily Al Eqtisadiya, the number of women working in the private sector increased from 215,000 in 2012 to 496,000 in 2016, an average of 8,500 jobs per month.
Women now represent 30 percent of the total Saudi work force in the private sector, up from 12 percent in 2011, according to the study, based on figures provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development.
Riyadh has the highest figure in employment opportunities for Saudi women with 203,600 jobs, representing 41 percent of the total number. Makkah in western Saudi Arabia follows with 106,800 jobs (21.5 percent) well ahead of the Eastern Province with 56,400 jobs (11.4 percent). Around 5,800 women are working in Jazan in the south of the kingdom, representing 1.2 per cent of the labour force in the private sector. Their number was 4,900 in 2012.
Saudi Arabia is going ahead with an ambitious drive to bring changes within the conservative Saudi society and encourage more women to take jobs. The Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development is working on increasing the percentage of women in the Saudi total workforce to 28 per cent by 2020.
Under the National Transformation Programme 2020, the ministry has launched several projects, including allowing women to work from home amid expectations that it would generate 141,000 jobs.
The project is proving popular among women, mainly for those living outside major cities in the kingdom, as it provides them with flexible timings and avoiding the challenges of commuting to the workplace.
Among the major social obstacles hindering women from taking up jobs are family responsibilities and transportation difficulties.
Source: Gulf News