Labour Market Trends: The Challenge of 2030


Brian Sturgess

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers approved an ambitious National Transformation Programme (NTP) in June 2016 with the aim of carrying out a complete restructuring of the economy. The implementation of Vision 2030 has major implications for the structure of Saudi Arabia’s Labour market with the creation of 1.2 million non-oil private sector jobs most of which are expected to be taken up by citizens. The Saudi Labour market has a number of distinctive features which will challenge the implementation of Vision 2030: an overreliance on expatriate labour; a preference by nationals for public sector jobs; a gender imbalance; persisting structural unemployment and problems in balancing labour supply and demand. The government is attempting to change the operation and structure of the Labour market by a set of policies involving quotas, subsidies, taxes, penalties and the provision of information services, but for a number of reasons change is unlikely to go smoothly in the next few years.