A new digitization plan is expected to create a half a million new jobs by 2020, as part of the National Transformation Plan 2020 (NTP).
The aim of the digitization plan is to develop a knowledge-based economy and decrease the unemployment rate. The Saudi working-age population is expected to grow by 226,000 annually and is expected to reach 17.9 million by 2025.
According to a report by The Economist Corporate Network, Saudi Arabia’s population is more connected, educated and prepared to work in the digital environment than ever before.
According to Mina Morris, associate partner at Aon Hewitt Middle East, “in the context of the changing economic landscape for Saudi Arabia, it is important to relate the creation of new jobs in digitisation to the old economic principle of supply and demand”, he explained.
In 2015, the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index ranked Saudi Arabia as 35th out of 143 countries, as a leader in network readiness in the MENA region.
“Saudi government, sets out clear areas where demand will be created by embracing technological changes, such as artificial intelligence, and a more joined-up approach between public and private sectors”.
“In conjunction with this, the government will need to create initiatives designed to create the supply – developing the skills and competencies to enable young Saudis to meet to this digitisation mandate,” said Morris.
The SAP Training and Development Institute is advocating sustainable work for Saudi millennials. SAP has held over 350,000 student training days over the past two years and collaborates with university partners who have trained over 5,400 graduates.
The private sector are also increasingly participating in this movement. The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) plays a major part in creating digital jobs in the Kingdom. STC has created a huge number of jobs in the telecom sector due to the digital revolution with additional projected in the IT sector.
In 2016, Cisco and Microsoft both signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment, outlined to transform the digital industry in the Kingdom.