number of gold and jewelry shops closed down by authorities for not
meeting Saudization conditions have now reopened. This follows the
introduction of a new law last Thursday allowing for only the gradual
Saudization of jobs in the market. Business is once again reportedly
brisk at souks all over the Kingdom.
tour of markets in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam by Arab News reporters
found that most of the jewelry shops previously closed down had now
reopened. Many had remained shuttered for two weeks because they were
unable to find experienced Saudis to work in them.
to the newly revised law, only 30 percent of the staff need to be
Saudized this year.
some Saudis have complained that gold market employers are offering
smaller salaries since the issuance of the new law.
is why Saudis aren’t interested in working in jewelry shops,” one
said. “Earlier, they were offering between SR3,000 and SR3,500.
Since the new law was introduced, they have reduced the salaries to
between SR2,000 and SR2,500.”
to the earlier ruling that came into effect on July 22, only Saudis
were allowed to work in gold and jewelry shops in the Kingdom. The
move was aimed at providing some 20,000 jobs to Saudis in the first
stage. However, the government decided on Wednesday to modify the
policy of employing only Saudis in the gold market. The Manpower
Council said the policy will now be implemented in stages, rather than
Saudizing all jobs in one go.
Minister Prince Naif, who is chairman of the council, endorsed the
decision after taking account of the reality of the market situation.
accordance with the new law, the Saudization of jobs in the market
will take at least two years to complete.
should be made to increase the percentage of Saudi employees to reach
50 percent by the beginning of next year, and 100 percent the
following year,” Abdul Wahid Al-Humaid, secretary-general of the
Manpower Council, told Arab News.
traders have welcomed the new decision, saying it will encourage
businessmen to train and employ more Saudis and achieve the target of
full Saudization of jobs in the sector before the grace period ends.
Saud Al-Khathlan, member of the precious metals committee at the
Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, endorsed the idea of
Saudizing jobs in the market gradually.
Farsi, head of a group representing senior gold businessmen in Jeddah,
disclosed that the first batch of Saudi trainees at the Jeddah Chamber
of Commerce and Industry will join the market next month to take up
chamber is planning to train more than 3,000 young Saudis over the
traders in the Eastern Province said the percentage of Saudi employees
in the sector had reached 90 percent, and that they were receiving
salaries up to SR10,000 a month.
Hussein Al-Namir, an official at Al-Ajlan gold market in Dammam, said
40 percent of salesmen at their shops were Saudis. But he pointed out
that most workers at their gold factories were expatriates due to lack
of experienced Saudis wanting to take up the jobs.
investors engaged in gold and jewelry business have ruled out
replacing the Saudis they had recruited after the first law by
Saudi employees are spread around in various shops and we are still in
need of a large number of Saudis,” they told Arab News.
no exact figure of Saudis working in the sector is available,
unofficial estimates say they currently account for only 10 percent of
about 60,000 employees. Chambers of commerce in various parts of the
Kingdom are now offering course to train Saudis for various jobs in
are 6,000 gold and jewelry shops in the Kingdom, the largest gold
consumer in the Middle East, with annual sales estimated at 174 tons,
or a per head monthly average of 15 grams. The demand for gold in the
Saudi market rose by nine percent during the second quarter of this
year compared to the same period last year.
to a recent study, 60 percent of gold shoppers in the Kingdom are men
and 40 percent women. Saudis account for 70 percent of the consumers,
with a market share of SR6.7 billion.