The crown prince has pledged to transform the kingdom’s expatriate-dependent economy in little over a decade. AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE
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Mohanad Faham is wondering whether the furniture showroom he manages in Riyadh can survive a drive to get more Saudis into work.That means upending traditional employment patterns where the private sector is dominated by foreign workers while nationals typically gravitate toward the public sector, where hours are shorter and jobs more secure.With unemployment at 12.9 percent, its highest level in more than a decade, and about a quarter of a million young Saudis entering the job market each year, those government jobs are no longer enough.Sweets, CarpetsThe first phase of the retail "Saudization" push went into effect this month, with car dealerships and sellers of clothing, furniture and household utensils now expected to employ Saudis in 70 percent of sales jobs.Labor Ministry spokesman Khalid Aba al-Khail has said the reform will create about 60,000 jobs for Saudis and an official at the small and medium enterprises authority estimated it could create as many as 490,000 jobs.
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