Women constituted over three quarters of job seekers in Saudi Arabia, according to a report covering the last quarter of 2016.
Women represented 80.6 percent of registered job seekers as reported by the General Authority for Statistics, indicating a problem in accommodating a qualified female workforce in both the public and private sectors.
The report showed that women continue to search for jobs up to the age of retirement, given that 3,488 women aged 57 to 66 were still registered as job seekers. There were only 167 male job seekers in the same age group.
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, head of the economy and energy committee of the Shoura Council, said obstacles include the fact women are prevented from occupying some positions, as well as logistical issues, according to Al-Watan.
Although the Ministry of Labor and Social Development has been working on encouraging women’s employment through legislation, many are still unemployed, Al-Rashed reportedly said.
Al-Rashed is however optimistic about the future. He said that boosting the female workforce is an essential part of the Vision 2030 reform plan.
Women’s contribution to the economy is significant and is further growing given the short period of time since women entered the labor market, he added.
The number of private-sector Saudi female employees registered at the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) reached 496,800 by the end of the third quarter of 2016.
This marks a 144.62 percent increase from the 203,088 jobs that were occupied by women at the end of 2012.
Female employment grew 4.1 percent during the third quarter of 2016, compared to the same period in the previous year, GOSI reports show.
The government plans to increase the number of women in the workforce from 23 percent to 28 percent, and decrease the unemployment rate to 9 percent by 2020.
Originally published on Arab News