Recruiting in Saudi Arabia can be challenging, especially for those in the private sector. The regulations of Saudization, finding expatriate workers and trying to remain compliant is challenging for most. Additionally, most smaller companies do not have an in-house human resources team, therefore unqualified employees are tasked with recruiting for the company hence, working outside their expertise. This can lead to greater issues down the road if not resolved.

In this article, we break down some common recruitment and hiring issues in Saudi Arabia and how they can be resolved.

Lack of qualified applicants

Having a talent pool full of applicants who aren’t able to fulfil the specified role does not bring much hope for companies. Having limited hiring pool limits companies in what they are able to produce and their business growth.

Companies that have difficulty finding qualified applicants for a role and may need to expand their search. This could be by advertising a role internationally to find the exact qualifications required, depending on the importance of the role. They can also work with a recruitment agency who will have a large pool of available applicants and will know where to look for a suitable applicant, if required. They will be able to search internationally for you and break through the clutter on your behalf.

Using a recruitment agency is especially helpful if the role needs to have a Saudi local and you are having trouble finding the right candidate. A recruiter will be able to assess the skills and qualifications of the applicant and know where standard training will be enough to get the employee up to speed.

Lengthy time period for recruit

Hiring in Saudi Arabia can be a lengthy process, especially if the role is being filled by an expatriate that will be moving into the country for the position. On average, it can take 4-6 months from the beginning of the recruitment process until the employee is working in the office in the Kingdom. A lot of this cannot be avoided, however, it can be cut down in some areas by hiring from within the Kingdom. Employees work for companies with a low Nitaqat rating, red and yellow, do not require their company permission to release their visas and are therefore free to change employer.

Unstandardized recruitment process

An unstandardized recruitment process will set your recruitment process back. Many companies in Saudi don’t have a standard process. This affects the speed of hire and quality of employee and can set business back if it’s a crucial role to the company or if Saudization levels will be negatively affected without the hire.

Standardizing recruitment process can decrease the downtime between employees and ensure that you remain compliant. Having a HR department, consultant or a regular recruiter you work with can ensure that you always have the correct employees in the company. A HR specialist will have a standard, structured recruitment process to decrease the downtime between employees whilst ensuring you are receiving the best possible candidate.

Finding the right employees is often a problem for many companies in Saudi Arabia. However, with the right processes and HR support, companies can thrive in this environment made up of expatriates and a young local talent pool. For companies that require support with HR consulting or recruitment, contact us on +966 11 411 1127 or