Labour flexibility: An analysis of the future trajectory of the employment of female graduates in Saudi Arabia
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AbstractDebates on flexible employment and labour persist in most Western market economies, while being largely absent regarding Saudi Arabia. Increasing unemployment among qualified Saudi citizens remains a major concern, particularly for females, despite a government policy of Saudisation. Notwithstanding incentives for prioritising Saudi citizens, foreign nationals dominate private sector employment. Few empirical studies consider the factors impacting employment of educated Saudi women: further, there are hardly any robust frameworks which offer policy makers, employers, and those championing the employment of this group a clear set of plausible guidelines bearing in mind the socioeconomic context of Saudi Arabia. The research aims, first and foremost, to examine how far "labour flexibility" in Saudi Arabia offers solutions to unemployment among educated Saudi females, exploring interalia the main institutions and regulatory framework of the Saudi labour market, and the effectiveness of these in managing the relationship between employers and employees. It also examines the major labour market and employment policy concerns of government, employers and employees, considering flexible employment forms in Saudi Arabia, and in what context employers and employees do or would consider flexible employment. Following on from this, the second aim is to develop a conceptual framework on key factors impacting the participation of educated Saudi females in the Saudi labour market. The framework that emerges from these analyses also provides some guidance for graduate women who seek labour market entry and participation. iii The study employed quantitative and qualitative methodologies, with targeted participants, returning 1347 usable questionnaires (41% response) augmented by 28 semi-structured interviews. The quantitative data underwent statistical examination by performing descriptive and inferential analysis on the SPSS software, and qualitative data were analysed using summative content analysis. A conceptual framework was developed and validated through interviews with ten representatives of the interviewed sample population, who held senior positions. To improve understanding of key influencing factors for educated women’s participation in the Saudi labour market for key stakeholders. The six factors identified were personal, socio-cultural, educational, legal/political, organisational and economic. The study identifies a relationship between increased flexible work patterns and increased employment of educated Saudi females and suggests a relationship between the challenges Saudi females face within employment practices and numbers employed in the labour market. Similarly, a relationship exists between educational level and employment chances for Saudi women. Recommendations are proffered to the Saudi Government, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Education, industrial sector, organisations, researchers and academia.
DescriptionA thesis submitted…
SponsorsRoyal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Cultural Bureau London