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October 2, 2023

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Saudi Arabia is a country rich in culture, history, and economic potential and is currently facing a pressing challenge: the talent crunch. As the Kingdom undergoes ambitious economic reforms and diversification efforts, the demand for skilled professionals across various industries has surged. In this blog, we'll explore the talent crunch in Saudi Arabia in 2023, its root causes, and the innovative strategies being employed to address this challenge.

Reason Behind The Talent Crunch in Saudi Arabia

By the year 2030, the manufacturing sector is poised to confront a notable labor shortage, projected at 7.9 million workers. To contextualize this figure, it is equivalent to 39 times the total number of Ford employees worldwide. Furthermore, this labor scarcity is estimated to result in a substantial output loss amounting to $607.14 billion. Despite the rapid transformations witnessed globally, the manufacturing sector remains a linchpin of significance, comprising over a third of China's economy. Its vitality persists as it plays an indispensable role in driving various other sectors.

According to a report by EY and iMocha, a substantial majority of 81% of organizations are currently grappling with a shortage of skilled technology professionals.

1. Demographic Challenges

Saudi Arabia has a young and growing population. While this youth population represents potential talent, there's a need for effective educational and vocational programs to equip them with the skills demanded by the evolving job market.

2. Lack of Experience

In emerging fields like technology startups, there's often a shortage of professionals with the required industry experience. This lack of experienced talent can hinder the rapid growth of such sectors.

3. Global Competition

Saudi Arabia competes globally for talent with countries that offer attractive opportunities and incentives. To attract and retain top talent, the Kingdom needs to continually enhance its offerings.

4. Language Barrier

Although English is widely spoken in Saudi Arabia's business environment, proficiency in the language may still be a barrier for some individuals. Expanding language training programs can help bridge this gap.

5. Cultural Considerations

Attracting international talent may require addressing cultural and lifestyle considerations. Ensuring a welcoming and inclusive environment is crucial in retaining expatriate professionals.

6. Regulatory Challenges

Navigating work permits and visa processes can sometimes be cumbersome for international talent. Streamlining these processes can make Saudi Arabia a more attractive destination for skilled professionals.

7. Infrastructure Development

In some sectors, the lack of advanced infrastructure and technology can deter professionals who are accustomed to more developed environments. Continued investment in infrastructure is essential for attracting top talent.

8. Work-Life Balance

Saudi Arabia has been actively working on improving work-life balance, which can be a factor in attracting and retaining professionals, especially in competitive industries.

9. Global Events

Global events like economic downturns or health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can impact international talent mobility and availability, adding complexity to addressing the talent crunch.

10. Rapid Economic Transformation

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, a comprehensive blueprint for the country's future, has accelerated economic diversification. The growth of sectors such as technology, healthcare, tourism, and entertainment has created a high demand for specialized skills.

11. Skilled Workforce Shortage

The demand for skilled workers exceeds the current supply. This gap is particularly noticeable in fields such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, cybersecurity, healthcare, and renewable energy.

How To Tackle the Talent Crunch?

1. Investing in Education

Saudi Arabia is channeling significant resources into enhancing its education system. From primary schools to universities, there's a focus on equipping students with the skills required to excel in the modern job market.

2. Vocational Training

To bridge the skills gap quickly, vocational and technical training programs have been expanded. These programs offer specialized training in fields like technology, healthcare, and renewable energy.

3. Attracting Global Talent

Saudi Arabia is actively attracting global talent through initiatives like the Green Card system, which offers long-term residency to investors, skilled professionals, and their families.

4. Private Sector Engagement

Collaborations with private companies and startups are fostering innovation and creating job opportunities. The private sector plays a pivotal role in developing a knowledge-based economy.

5. Remote Work and Flexibility

The pandemic has accelerated remote work practices, making it easier to tap into talent pools across the world. Saudi companies are embracing flexible work arrangements and remote hiring to access the skills they need.

6. Diversity and Inclusion

Encouraging a diverse workforce, including gender diversity, not only attracts talent but also fosters a culture of innovation and creativity.


The talent crunch in Saudi Arabia is a challenge, but it's also an opportunity for growth and transformation. As the country continues to invest in education, vocational training, and global talent attraction, it is well on its way to developing a skilled workforce capable of driving the Kingdom's economic diversification. By addressing the talent crunch, Saudi Arabia is not only securing its economic future but also positioning itself as a dynamic and attractive destination for professionals from around the world. As we look forward to the remainder of 2023 and beyond, it's evident that the Kingdom is making great strides in tackling this critical issue.

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