The decades-long ban on women driving has just been lifted in Saudi Arabia. But will this historic event change the employment landscape in the country for the better?
The findings by a survey indicate so.
The survey by GulfTalent is of Saudi women and interviews with senior executives in Saudi Arabia to find out how driving is going to impact the career opportunities for women, and the job market in general.
Driving is expected to empower Saudi women and contribute to their progression to senior leadership roles traditionally held by men, the survey findings note.
Since many working women are set to switch to more lucrative jobs when they can drive, driving will create new jobs for women in the automotive sector, while more city jobs become accessible to unemployed women from small towns and villages, the findings add.
Based on the survey findings, an overwhelming 82% of Saudi women plan to take up driving this year.
According to the survey, this is expected to contribute to more women growing into senior roles traditionally dominated by men, many women upgrading to higher paying jobs further away from their homes, and many currently unemployed women getting the opportunity to work.
Women’s Empowerment and Growth
Career advancement is a major factor in empowering women, which is one of the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.
The GulfTalent survey found that women’s driving significantly enhances their chances of career progression, by giving them the mobility required for managerial positions and removing logistical barriers that have traditionally inhibited promotion to senior roles.
Improved job-skill matching
GulfTalent’s survey predicts driving will lead to a wave of employed women moving to better matching and more lucrative jobs in other companies.
Many of the survey respondents admitted that they previously had to settle for jobs with lower pay than their qualifications merited or unrelated to their interests and studies because of transport constraints.
Many women surveyed affirmed they will be looking for better opportunities as soon as they are able to drive.
New jobs for women
The Saudi government’s Vision 2030 aims to raise women’s participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%.
The new opportunities created by women driving are set to contribute to achieving this goal, the survey findings add.