25% Saudization in Engineering Jobs: How It Affects Expat Engineers

Overview of the Saudization Initiative in Engineering

In a significant development, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, recently announced a new directive set to take effect on July 21, 2024. This directive mandates the localization of 25% of engineering jobs in the private sector in Saudi Arabia, a move that applies to all private sector establishments employing five or more individuals in engineering positions.

This strategic decision aims to boost the participation of Saudi nationals in the engineering field, a sector that has historically seen a high influx of expatriate professionals. The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing will oversee the implementation of this policy, ensuring it aligns with the labor market’s needs and the specialized nature of engineering professions.

Implications for Expat Engineers: A Closer Look

But what does this mean for the expatriate engineering community in Saudi Arabia? Is there cause for concern among the foreign engineers who have long considered the Kingdom a land of opportunity?

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Growth and Opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s Engineering Sector

Interestingly, the situation may not be as worrying as it appears at first glance. Despite the enforcement of a 25% Saudization quota in engineering roles, the Kingdom’s technology sector is experiencing robust growth. With numerous ongoing and planned projects, Saudi Arabia is rapidly becoming a hub for engineering innovation and expertise. This growth translates into an increasing demand for skilled engineers, suggesting that opportunities in the sector are expanding, not diminishing.

The Valued Role of Foreign Engineers in the Kingdom

Moreover, foreign engineers have earned a reputation for their technical prowess and extensive experience, making them valued members of the engineering community in Saudi Arabia. Their skills and knowledge are highly regarded, and their contribution to the industry is undeniable.

In light of these factors, expatriate engineers in Saudi Arabia might find reassurance. The localization initiative, while significant, does not necessarily spell a decrease in opportunities for foreign engineers. Instead, it could be seen as part of Saudi Arabia’s broader vision to develop a more inclusive and diverse workforce, where expatriates continue to play an essential role.

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Adapting to Change: The Future for Expat Engineers in Saudi Arabia

As the country strides towards a more balanced labor market, it is likely that the expertise and experience of foreign engineers will remain in high demand. The key for expatriate engineers will be to adapt to the changing landscape, leveraging their skills and experience to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious engineering projects.


In conclusion, while the Saudization of 25% of engineering roles is a notable change, it does not necessarily portend a diminishing role for expatriate engineers in Saudi Arabia. Given the Kingdom’s ongoing and future projects, along with the high regard for foreign engineering expertise, expatriate engineers can view this development as a shift in the landscape, not the end of the road for their careers in Saudi Arabia.

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About Mohammed Ameen

Mohammed Ameen, a dedicated blogger with a postgraduate degree in business, has been writing since 2012 about expat life in Saudi Arabia. His posts offer practical tips, guides, and local updates to help fellow expats navigate life in Saudi Arabia.