The recent labour market reforms have resulted in a significant rise in the female labour force participation rate among Saudi nationals, nearly doubling from 19 per cent in 2016 to approximately 36 per cent in 2022! This increase has, in turn, pushed the overall participation rate to a historic high of 61.7 per cent in March 2023, in contrast to a previous low of 54.2 per cent in June 2017.
Saudi Arabia has reported a significant decrease in its unemployment rate, and this drop can be primarily attributed to the increased participation of women in the workforce. In the first quarter of 2023, the unemployment rate dropped from two digits to 8.46 per cent in comparison to 2022.
As per a recent report, the country’s labour market had 15.4 million employed individuals, with women constituting 18.7 per cent of this number as per data for the end of Q1 of 2023.
In Q1 2023, as reported by CI Capital, 33,000 female Saudi nationals joined the workforce, representing a 3.4 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter. Additionally, s per more data from CI Capital, expatriates now make up 75 per cent of the Kingdom’s overall labour force. This figure is steadily improving due to the narrowing salary gap between expatriates and local citizens.
Moreover, the number of country’s foreign workers has reached 7.8 million, which was the highest figure recorded since Q4 2017. Notably, the construction and agriculture sectors accounted for 53 per cent of the new foreign hires.