Saudi women ‘strive’ for part-time work
Kingdom’s nationalisation drive stands in the way of hourly wage scheme
August 20, 2013 6:46 by Muhammad Aldalou
A recent study by Glowork, Saudi Arabia’s first female-dedicated human capital company, has revealed that (given the chance) 87 per cent of Saudi women would look to work part-time, particularly while still attending university.
According to Khalid Alkudair, founder and CEO of Glowork, if part-time work with an hourly pay scheme made legal in Saudi Arabia, both employees and employers would benefit immensely – particularly in today’s suffering retail industry.
According to Alkhudair, the study reveals that female respondents are more interested in working for the experience and not for financial reasons.
The survey was conducted on the company’s belief that the gap between the education sector and employment sector can be bridged through implementing a part-time work law that enables women to become active members of society.
Alkhudair tells Kipp that Glowork is campaigning to implement this scheme in the near future and that the results of the survey have already been presented to the Ministry of Labour.
Alkhudair explains: “Countries in the west have their whole retail industry built on part-time students. We believe there should be a mechanism in which the Ministry of Labour looks at adapting an hourly pay scheme, which could dramatically increase the Saudisation percentages in the retail industry.”
When asked what was the major obstacle to allowing the development of an hourly pay scheme, he said it is the inability to tie hourly work in with the kingdom’s nationalisation drive. Through a program called Nitaqat – introduced in the kingdom in June 2011 – the Ministry of Labour is able to keep track of its nationalisation ratio and the number of Saudi citizens employed in the private sector.
“So, if I were working 40 hours a week in a private company, I’d be regarded by the program as a full-time employee,” he explains. “No mechanism has been developed to tie part-time work in with Saudisation.”
Alkhudair tells Kipp that he believes females in the kingdom strive to work for two reasons: to gain experience and to prove themselves. He says that being an active part of society has “become a hobby” for many Saudi women.
He adds: “They want the opportunity to show people that they are hard-working, committed, talented, able and willing. If any opportunity arises, you’ll find Saudi women there.”