Saudi kicks off 2nd phase of Saudization in consulting industry

25 March 2024 2 min. read

The Saudi Arabian government has officially kicked off the second phase of its Saudization program within the consulting industry, meaning that consutlancies operating in the Kingdom will have to meet higher percentages of Saudi nationals within their workforce.

Also known as ‘Nitaqat’, Saudization is a national program by the Ministry of Labour makes that makes it mandatory for companies in the Kingdom to hire Saudi nationals. Saudization is primarily focused on the private sector, with the quota system depending on the sector and a company’s size, among others.

The goal of Saudization is evident: to provide more job opportunities for Saudi nationals, fostering their career development and personal growth, and reducing unemployment among nationals.

Saudi kicks off 2nd phase of Saudization in consulting industry

In the consulting profession, the first phase of Saudization kicked off in April last year, when the government announced a target of 35% Saudi nationals for most roles in the industry, including financial consulting specialist, business consultant, cyber security specialist, project manager, and system implementation expert.

Now, the second phase has come into effect today, lifting the target for Saudi nationals to 40%. On the longer run that percentage is expected to rise further, with a number of sectors/professions already facing Saudization rate requirements of over 50%. Further details on consulting industry timelines have not been released.

In a statement, the Ministry of Labour said that it will work to follow up and implement the second phase of Saudization in the consulting world, in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority, Expenditure and Project Efficiency Authority, and the Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF).

The ministry also confirmed that it will provide a package of incentives to encourage consulting firms and other professional services groups with employing Saudis. These include supporting the process of attracting and searching for suitable workers, supporting training, providing benefits from nationalization support programs, and support programs implemented through the HADAF.

Most major foreign consulting firms have been anticipating Saudization requirements for long, setting up recruitment initiatives focused on locals. The likes of McKinsey & CompanyBain & CompanyArthur D. LittleDeloitte and PwC have all established hiring programs dedicated to Saudi talent, with new hires beefing up the share of Saudi headcount.