Vocational training and labour

Vocational training is expanding rapidly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: in 2012, some 115,000 students graduated from 80 vocational and technical colleges; by 2020, the annual number of vocational-course graduates is expected to reach 300,000.


Providing skilled labour to industry, the Technical & Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) is at the heart of vocational training in KSA. TVTC's activities include the operation of 50 colleges of technology across the kingdom, running mainly two-year courses in subjects such as engineering technology, production, electronics, manufacturing and computing.

Many further education and higher education institutions offer industrial, industry-related and industry-relevant courses of three years or more, in subjects such as information technology, mathematics, physics, chemistry and English. These institutions include:

  • Universities, such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
  • Industrial colleges and institutes, such as Jubail Industrial College and Yanbu Industrial College


Saudi Arabia's Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) provides financial support for the training and employment of Saudi citizens. A maximum of $400 a month is available during training and $533 a month on employment, each for up to two years.

HRDF also conducts research and programmes to promote the employment of Saudis, and provides loans for workforce training and development.


Saudi Arabia's high-quality, flexible labour force has firm foundations: Saudi Arabia is the world's seventh-highest spender on education, which accounts for 25% of government expenditure and 7% of GDP.

The Saudi Arabian labour force has expanded greatly, from 3.2 million employees in 1999 to more than 9.7 million today, and further rapid growth is expected. Over half of these are expatriates, including highly skilled professionals and low-cost workers, who have long been welcome in Saudi Arabia open, dynamic economy.

The buoyant construction sector accounts for around 40% of employment in Saudi Arabia. This is followed by services (23%), manufacturing and industry (15%), the public sector (11%) and other sectors (11%).

Employees in Saudi Arabia work an average of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week(plus one day more in some companies). After taking into account holidays and public holidays, they work 282 days a year.

As a guideline, typical monthly salaries are:

  • $2,580 for a senior engineer or equivalent (holding a university degree)
  • $1,162 for an assistant engineer (with a university degree)
  • $970 for a technician (technical/vocational institute diploma)
  • $759 for an operator (secondary/intermediate school certificate)
  • $473 for a manual worker (school certificate)


Social insurance payments comprise: an occupational hazards insurance component (2% of wages, payable by the employer); and an annuity element to cover pensions (18% of wages, of which 9% is paid by the employer and 9%+1% by the employee(1% is for unemployment risk allowance)). This is administered by the General Organization for Social Insurance.

Saudi Arabia has a favourable personal tax regime. According to the World Bank's comprehensive annual Doing Business report, KSA's tax system is the sixth most rewarding in the world.


© Copyright 2012 National Industrial Clusters Development Program. All rights reserved.