Jamil Al-Bagawi, Saudi Council of Engineers’ Chairman of the Board, made an alarming statement that Saudi Engineers only account for 14.8% at 35,000 compared to the number of expat engineers in the Kingdom which is already at 200,000.
The data is based on the number of engineers registered with the council and Al-Bagawi stated that such figures pose numerous challenges to the entire industry although it is practically a problem for the council. Needless to say, there is a huge opportunity for increasing Saudi’s engineers.
The Chairman issued a statement that the Council aims to provide encouragement to Saudi students to pick the needed specialties in engineering so that expats who are currently handling jobs in the field can be replaced.
He added that setting an illustrious cadre together with a competitive compensation package that provides for plans related to training and development programs plays a vital role in improving the number of Saudi engineers.
He noted the huge gap between the number of Saudi and non-Saudi engineers in the Kingdom and that it is highly possible that the unattractive salary package is to blame. To engineering students, being employed by the government does not offer enough encouragement compared to the career path that they can take in the private sector which is certainly brighter and the compensation package is also better. This is why the inclination of most Saudi engineers is to be part of corporations like SABIC and Aramco.
As to improving the Kingdom’s engineering cadre, he said “The Council has demanded the improvement of the system.” It is believed that this step will make more Saudi students attracted and encouraged to be part of the industry as the new system will provide for growth through development, training as well as promotion programs which are gauged though reliable assessment mechanisms. He explained further that this system will call for testing for competence assessment and evaluation for future stages. The Council, in cooperation with the National Center for Assessment (Qiyas), will design these evaluation tests.
Al-Bagawi’s statement also said that according to the data in Civil Service, the government sector has 5,700 vacancies in engineering. Due to this manpower shortage, it has been necessary to appoint engineers as consultants at high rates which are about twice the compensation of regular engineers.
He also emphasized that he Council aims to trantsform Saudi engineers into innovators and experts who can assist the developing country and boost the Kingdom’s economic and industrial standing without the need for the recruitment of numerous engineers from outside the Kingdom.
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