In 2013, about 60 % of Saudi young women were unemployed compared to 17 % of young men. At the time, a report by the World Economic Forum ranked Saudi Arabia 136 among 138 countries with regard to women’s economic participation and opportunity. In response, the Saudi Government launched a series of initiatives to reduce unemployment, particularly female unemployment, by increasing the absorption and retention of Saudi nationals into the private sector, where fewer than 10% of jobs in the country were held by Saudi nationals.
To support this effort, the King Khalid Foundation (KKF), one of the leading youth development organizations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, partnered with IYF to launch the Saudi Youth @ Work Alliance project. This initiative matched KKF’s experience and unique position as a supporter of innovative social development programs in the country with IYF’s global and regional expertise on “what works” in positive youth development, along with local implementing partner Glowork’s local expertise.
This initiative’s goal was to provide young disadvantaged and/or unemployed Saudi female youth with increased opportunities to secure employment by strengthening their life skills and self-confidence. Together, the consortium strengthened the capacity of Saudi nonprofits to offer workforce development programs in employability, entrepreneurship, and service learning, and IYF provided specific grants and technical support to a some of these organizations. Much of the technical support was delivering our Passport to Success (PTS) life skills curriculum as part of the training.
From 2017-2019, this project achieved substantial results, including:
- 246 participants trained and certified (F=100%, M=0%)
- 124 participants successfully secured a job (as of December 2020)
- 96% of participants found the training effective in helping secure a job
- 60% of female youth participants reported increased self-confidence