Recruiting for Saudization

Saudization is fundamental to operating a business in Saudi Arabia. The Saudization scheme requires companies to hire a certain number of Saudi nationals depending on the company’s industry and size. It is measured by Nitaqat, a color-coded rating system to show compliance, more information can be found on Saudization compliance here.

The government is increasing the number of Saudi nationals in the private sector, including getting more women into in the workforce, through multiple reforms, initiatives and programs, such as removing the TAQAT requirement and the latest cash incentive for private sector employers who hire nationals.

Recruiting for Saudization can be a challenge for many private sector companies, but with support from a local partner, companies can more easily move towards Saudization compliance.

Recruitment challenges for Saudization

There are many factors that affect how companies recruit for Saudization. Generally, white collar industries find it easier to attract candidates than blue collar industries and this can cause challenges for those companies who need to increase their Saudization levels.

Another prominent issue for companies in Saudi is finding candidates with the relevant qualifications or experience. The majority of the Saudi working population are below the age of 35 therefore, meaning most do not have the amount of experience that companies generally prefer.

Private sector companies also find disparity between the salary they are willing to pay and the expectation from candidates, however, the government have the HADAF initiative, Hawafiz and the Wage Subsidies Program to address this for eligible companies.

Implementing TAQAT

TAQAT is the government’s virtual labour market that compiles job postings from the public and private sector into one place. It helps connect employers to employees and provides services to both parties. Companies are eligible to receive salary subsidies and other incentives through the program.

The program provides training and learning opportunities for candidates and assists private sector companies in overcoming the challenges of implementing Saudization. Through TAQAT, companies have access to hundreds of thousands of employees and can use the comprehensive filtering system to search for specific skills and qualifications.

Human resource departments can utilize the system to create professional development programs for employees to improve their work related skills and employee retention.

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Job posts and portals

A challenge many private sector companies have is finding candidates with relevant experience. Posting on job portal sites like BAB Saudi and Bayt that have a large pool Saudi job seekers increase their chances of finding a quality candidate.

One method companies can use to increase their pool of candidates is advertising roles with broader requirements. For example, a position for an office manager may be crafted as an administration role, to encourage more candidates with various types of administrative experience to apply.


Hiring graduates has many benefits, such as them being fast learners and adaptable to change. Additionally, many graduates in Saudi Arabia have studied abroad and bring new perspectives to company culture and their role.

Investing in Saudi graduates by offering on-the-job training develops them as they progress in their careers and has a positive impact on your Nitaqat rating.

Open interviews

Open interviews are common in Saudi Arabia as they draw a large number of candidates and often quicken the hiring process. Holding open interviews exposes companies to potential candidates for current and future openings. This way, companies can network with candidates and create their own database for future positions.

Saudization compliance

With the Nitaqat updates, when companies onboard or release employees, your Nitaqat rating is immediately updated, making it essential to plan your timeline of employee onboarding or releasing, to ensure you remain compliant throughout the process.


Recruiting for Saudization has been a challenge for many private sector companies because of difficulty finding qualified, skilled or highly trained candidates. The government’s reforms, initiatives and programs address these challenges and have worked to improve the process through training programs, workshops and internship programs to give graduates more experience and better prepare them for the workplace.

If you need assistance with Saudization, contact us on +966 11 411 1127 or