How Saudi Arabia's female workforce is growing amid reforms

New data shows female labour force participation up to nearly 20%.
Women, Equality, Empowerment, Saudi Arabia, Society, Culture, Labour, Work, Middle East, Economy

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New research also shows number of foreigners in the Saudi labour market declined by around 1.4 million since the start of 2017.

Saudi Arabia's female workforce is continuing to grow amid reforms and an exodus of foreign workers, acccording to new research from Jadwa Investment.

Its latest Saudi Labour Market Update, which cited data from the General Authority for Statistics for the third quarter of 2018, showed that overall unemployment declined slightly to 12.8 percent, from 12.9 percent in the previous two quarters.
  
However, it added that female labour force participation continued to rise, reaching 19.7 percent in Q3, up from 17.8 percent during the same time a year ago.
  
The data also showed that the total number of foreigners in the Saudi labour market declined by around 1.4 million since the start of 2017, with 265,000 leaving the market during Q3 of last year.
  
Jadwa's research also highlighted a slight upward trend in wages for Saudi workers has been observed since Q1 2017, especially so for males working in the private sector.

"We expect this upward trend to continue in the medium term," it said.

Looking at sectorial employment, data showed that all sectors saw a drop in the number of foreign workers, with construction losing 162,000 foreign workers, followed by trade with 58,000 during the review period.
  
At the same time, four sectors saw an increase in the number of Saudi workers during Q3, compared to the previous quarter.
  
In September 2018, the Ministry of Labour, in collaboration with the Human Resource Development Fund, laid out three stages of Saudisation relating specifically to the retail sector, Jadwa noted.

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