An official of the manpower development sector said yesterday that over 100,000 youths are looking for jobs in Makkah and 80 percent of them are women.
Ayman Beshawari, deputy chairman of the Human Resources Development Committee and Saudization at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the unemployment figures are based on the records of the Labor Ministry’s Hafiz program.
“But a major hurdle is in finding employment for all as only 30 percent of them hold Bachelor’s degrees while the rest possess secondary school or intermediate school certificates,” he said.
He added that the situation was challenging because the major sources of jobs in the holy city are hotels and tourism. Saudi society has some reservations about women taking up jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector where they will have to mingle with men. It also requires legal support with a special order of the provincial governor for women to work in those sectors, Al-Eqtisadiah daily reported.
Beshawari was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the tourism committee of the MCCI and representatives of the employment committee at the Labor Office and the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF).
He said women can work in both fields as receptionists, booking clerks and inquiries desk officials or in restaurants and laundries. Such workplaces will not create inappropriate situations for women, he said.
He also criticized the months-long delay in the HRDF’s distribution of payments to workers in the private sector.
“It would be better if the payment were made directly by the fund to the person concerned as is done in the case of teachers in the private sector,” he said.
He pointed out that some youths trained by the HRDF were not fully qualified for the work and they needed additional training.
He also said the statistics supplied by the Hafiz program was not accurate as they did not logically classify those who desire to work and those who were not serious about working, especially housewives who did not want to go out for work.