Unemployment Gender Gap


Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg:

Considering that Saudi Arabia has been going through an unprecedented boom during the past three years, the employment rate should have increased more dramatically. GDP nearly doubled from 2009 to 2011. But the employment rate rose to only 34 percent, almost half the average rate for industrialized countries.

The main reason for rising unemployment rates in Saudi Arabia can be found in the difficulties women find job seekers face in securing work. Between 2009 and 2012, women’s rate of unemployment increased from (28 percent) to (36 percent). Let us see if the rate of employment is any different.

In fact, we find out that chances for Saudi women in finding work have slightly improved since 2009, but that improvement has been quite limited and their employment rates are still extremely low. In 2009, there were (505,000) employed Saudi women, compared to (647,000) in 2012. Accordingly, their employment rate rose from (8.5 percent) to just (10 percent). The new rate is still miniscule by international standards — less than one fifth of the comparable rate for industrialized countries.