New Saudisation regulations will 'fill gap' in hospitality market, says recruitment chief
Gap in the market surrounding quantity of applications, according to CatererGlobal manager Jeremy Vercoe
New Saudisation regulations surrounding the hospitality industry will help 'fill a gap in the market' according to a leading recruitment company.
Last month the Minister of Labour and Social Development announced a decision to Saudise the management and specialist professions in the tourism sector, sister title Arabian Business reported. It requires 100% Saudisation of roles in reservation, purchases, marketing and front desks, but excludes jobs like bellboy, parking valet, driver and doorman.
The decision applies to all three-star hotels and above, resorts, hotel suites, and villas classified as four-star and above.
Jeremy Vercoe, manager, CatererGlobal, told Arabian Business: “In recent years, operators have reported a positive uplift in the proportion of Saudi nationals applying for roles in the hospitality industry. Where this has previously been dominated by expat workers in many parts of the sector, the change marks a significant shift for the industry in the kingdom, which is reflected by the new mandate issued by the Minister of Labor and Social Development, as the nation works toward 100 percent Saudisation in the tourism and hospitality sector.
“Similarly, we’ve also seen an increase in employers seeking Saudi candidates, which has highlighted a slight gap in the market surrounding quantity of applications, despite there already being an increase in Saudi recruits.
“The move toward 100 percent Saudisation in the hospitality and tourism industry reaffirms the vast opportunities available to Saudi nationals within the kingdom, and we expect to witness renewed momentum for candidates to start, continue or evolve a career in what is one of the largest industries in the world.”
Jobs affected include hotel deputy manager, assistant head of IT administration, director and assistant director of sales administration; sales representative and sales manager, fitness club supervisor, public services supervisor in a hotel, goods receiving clerk, room service orders clerk, restaurant or café waiter, tourism enquiry clerk, executive secretary, general administrative clerk, administrative employee and administrative coordinator.
As per the new regulations, the following occupations should have at least one Saudi employee: food and beverages supervisor, room service supervisor, events section supervisor and laundry supervisor.
The decision also made it compulsory to Saudise at least 70% of jobs in the two occupations — sales manager, and events and conferences sales manager.
Hospitality is the latest sector to face stricter “Saudisation” policies, which call for replacing the foreigners who dominate many parts of the private sector - particularly blue collar and service jobs.
Officials say such policies are necessary to create jobs for Saudis in a country that’s relied heavily on cheaper foreign labour. However, some businesses complain that Saudisation increases the cost of hiring and lowers productivity.
The decision will be enforced from an Islamic calendar date likely to correspond with December 29. Many hotels had already begun hiring Saudis to fill front-desk jobs in recent years, part of a gradual cultural shift as Saudis begin to take up jobs that once would have been considered undesirable.