The culture is changing for women, says Saudi jobseeker

Norah Al-Damegh is a Saudi senior undergraduate student at Dar Al-Uloom University in Riyadh majoring in Human Resources. She is currently looking for jobs for her co-op training which is a requirement for the completion of her course. We speak to her about what it’s like to be a female jobseeker in Saudi Arabia.

What do you think about the attitudes towards women working in Saudi Arabia?

A lot has changed in the past five years - women here are really improving. The companies want us and the culture is changing for women; they are allowing us to work and it’s much easier now.

Do you think women are getting the jobs that they are qualified for?

I think it is really improving. Now it’s the woman’s choice, not her family or the companies. 10 years ago, women could only work as teachers but now they can work in banks, hospitals or insurance companies.

Do you think there is more social acceptance for women working in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, it is getting common now, which is good. I thank the government for this and parent’s minds for changing.

Do local companies give opportunities for women or mainly multinational companies?

They do accept women but not all because most are related to the government and are not public companies. Government companies are strict and are more male dominated.

Do you have any friends that work in Saudi Arabia? Tell us about their experience.

Yes, I have friends that are mostly working at banks. I think that they are not that experienced, but they are trying. The responsibilities and policies are directed more towards the male population, but they are trying to fit in females now. Some offices are segregated, while others have a mixed environment with the requirement that women wear the abaya.

What obstacles do you expect to face in the future while looking for job opportunities?

InshaAllah (God willing), I think that there will be no obstacles because my family is supportive of me working in a multinational or mixed environment.

What do you think will be achieved through the A Step Ahead career fair?

They will try to support Saudi women to find more opportunities and work in multinational companies and educate them about the opportunities they have.