By the Blouin News Business staff

With unemployment rising, Riyadh to make jobs Saudi-only

by in Middle East.

Saudi youth. (Source: sacmclubs/flickr)

Saudi youth. (Source: sacmclubs/flickr)

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia unveiled a plan to ensure jobs for its citizens over foreigners living in the country — by legally forcing firms to have 100% Saudi employees within six months. The first target of this “Saudization” scheme is the mobile phone industry, but other sectors will feel the pinch too.

Faced with low oil prices, which make up 90% of government revenue, Riyadh has been compelled to cut subsidies and limit spending. In fact, the government’s deficit reached nearly $100 billion last year, and it is seeking a 5-year international bank loan of $6-8 billion for the first time in over a decade. With the oil boom years over, and the government (which employs 70% of Saudis) no longer hiring, the specter of rising unemployment is upon the country.

Saudis under 30 (who make up 70% of the population) feel this pinch the most, since their parents had a much easier time with better job options. Unemployment among Saudis aged 15-25 is already at nearly 30%…

…the rest of this article lives on Blouin News. Read it here.