Research InterestsLabor Economics, demography, policy analysis.
Cian contributes to the KAPSARC initiative on Productivity and Economic Diversification in Saudi Arabia. His current work focuses on economic diversification in Saudi Arabia, labor dynamics in GCC countries, gender employment gaps in the GCC, and policy recommendations for Saudi Vision 2030 goals. Before joining the center, he worked as an energy analyst in Vienna. Most recently, he served as the editor of Intereconomics Review of European Economic Policy in Hamburg, where he worked with academics all over the world to publish and promote diverse research topics for a policy-oriented readership.
In Q3 2018, 30% of Saudi employment was in the private sector, and by Q1 2022 this had increased to 46%. A major driver of this increase was the comparative outperformance of Saudi women, of whom over 60% now work in the private sector, compared with 40% of Saudi men.
At the beginning of the series in Q3 2018, over 75% of employed Saudi women worked in the public sector. However, in the same period Saudi female labor force participation increased from under 20% to 34% – fulfilling a major policy objective of Saudi Vision 2030.
As part of the strategic roadmap for Saudi Vision 2030, the Saudi Arabian government set a goal in 2017 to increase female participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%. This goal falls under objective 4, Increase Employment, of the Human Capability Development Program.
In October 2022, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) issued a decision mandating the progressive localization of consultancy professions up to 40% by the end of March 2024. Such targeted localization (or Saudization) of specific professions is not extraordinary in Saudi Arabia.
In the space of a few short weeks in March, the COVID-19 pandemic took over every aspect of our lives and caused the global economy to grind to a standstill. Health concerns over the spread and mortality rate of the virus understandably took priority in the first phase of the pandemic, as governments issued travel bans and lockdowns in an attempt to limit uncontrolled community spread and prevent overloading of national health systems.
In the week when Saudi Arabia celebrated its first anniversary of women drivers in the Kingdom and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accepted the chair of the G20 summit for 2020, G20 countries – including Saudi Arabia – reaffirmed their commitment to furthering the empowerment of women in society. Pew Research also released a report showing that Saudi Arabia had the fastest growing female labor force participation rate of all the G20 countries. Increasing female labor force participation, a key target of Saudi Vision 2030, is a key indicator of female empowerment. In light of these developments, it is worth taking a look at the factors that influence female labor force participation.