Saudi Arabia has kicked off on Thursday the process of localizing the consultancy sector and professions across the Kingdom.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) announced the start of the first phase of the process.
The Ministry aimed to provide a stimulating and productive work environment for Saudi men and women, increase their participation in the labor market, and strengthen their contribution to the economy.
The first phase of the localization included consultants and specialists who practice consulting work in the sector by 30 percent, which is expected to provide job opportunities for male and female citizens.
Localizing the consultancy sector and professions is part of the cooperation between the Ministry with the supervising bodies.
It included the Ministry of Finance, the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority, the Expenditure and Project Efficiency Authority, and the Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF).
The cooperation aims to boost the presence of the human cadres in the sector, increase the percentage of Saudis in the industry, develop the local content in this strategic sector, and organize the labor market.
The Local Content and Government Procurement Authority will follow up on the commitment to include localization requirements in consulting contracts.
Furthermore, the MHRSD declared Thursday that the first and second phases of the “Updated Nitaqat” Saudization program have been instrumental in raising the number of Saudi citizens working in the private sector.
The number reached more than 2.1 million by the end of 2022, bringing the total number of Saudis who joined the labor market that year alone to over 277,000, or 80 percent of the program's targets.
After the second phase in January 2023, the Ministry noted that the program aimed to achieve the strategic goals of employing about 35,000 Saudis in the market during the first quarter of this year, raising the total number of Saudis working in the private sector to more than 2.23 million.
The program has contributed to the rest of the Ministry's programs and initiatives to reduce the unemployment rate to historic levels, reaching 8 percent.
The Ministry launched mid-2021 the Updated Nitaqat program and gave all private sector establishments sufficient time to respond to changes and improve their human resource plans to comply with the program's requirements.
It also supported private sector establishments with incentives and facilities to employ Saudis, namely subsidizing wages, in cooperation with HADAF and activating an instant account for using Saudis in all establishments.
The program's updated version focuses on reducing obstacles by merging similar economic activities with close localization rates into unified groups.
It also establishes a clear plan for the required localization rates from the private sector over the next three years, which would gradually apply the necessary rates, granting adequate time to achieve those goals.
The Ministry developed the program by aligning it with the needs and nature of the various sectors through a series of workshops with the government agencies supervising these sectors and in cooperation with the private sector.