Saudi Arabia
Saudi ArabiaReuters

Saudi Arabia has launched a nation-wide programme for the "Saudization" of the private sector in order to increase employment among Saudi youths and to take back the workforce share from foreigners. Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani Tuesday called for 100 percent employment of Saudis in all processes of the mobile phone industry in six months. 

The kingdom launched the nationalisation plan, called "Guided Localization," Tuesday, with the aim to achieve total or partial "Saudization" in several sectors, starting with the cellphone industry, with notices sent to mobile phone companies to ensure 100 percent employment of Saudis by Sept. 2. 

"The aim is to create jobs for Saudi men and women that would give them financial stability and minimise cover-up activities. The decision must be enforced across the country and include small, medium and large businesses," the ministry said, according to Arab News

The recent drop in oil prices and the decision to freeze oil output levels have forced authorities to cut subsidies and limit spending, which has reportedly led to fears of further unemployment among the Saudi youth. 

In October last year, Saudi Arabia had formed the Commission for Job Generation and Anti-Unemployment after youth unemployment rate among Saudis between 15 and 25 years of age rose to 29.43 percent. The country is also dealing with a growing younger population — 70 percent of Saudi Arabia's population is now under 30 years of age. 

Recent reports highlighted how Saudis were taking up unconventional jobs at food outlets such as Starbucks and McDonald's and coming out in droves to find employment through job fairs held recently in the country. 

Jobs in Saudi Arabia's private sector have largely been cornered by migrants, mainly from South Asian countries or from the impoverished neighbours in the Middle East. However, with the kingdom practically freezing hiring in government jobs, more Saudi youth are being forced to look at the private sector for employment.