Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Economics



First Advisor

Gilbert S. Suzawa


The shortage of qualified Saudi manpower has arisen as the most serious obstacle to Saudi industrial development and economic diversification. This study addresses the labor problem by projecting the industrial sector's manpower needs and the availability of such labor in the indigenous population, then by projecting the number of expatriate workers required to ensure the industrial sector's steady growth and prosperity.

In addition, the educational system is examined and the number of higher and vocational education graduates are projected to show to what extent the educational system can supply the necessary workers. The rationale behind industrialization, the reasons for the manpower shortage, and the negative aspects of depending on expatriate workers are also discussed.

The primary finding of this study is that the industrial sector will continue to depend largely on expatriate workers, particularly in the private sector, i.e., non-oil manufacturing establishments. Secondly, this study concludes that graduates of the educational system will be able to fill a relatively large number of job openings, especially for middle- and high-level positions. Nonetheless, there will not be enough Saudi workers to create a self-sufficient economy in terms of manpower in the near future. Finally, this study finds that there are many current practices and policies negatively affecting the growth of new manpower for the development process and some corrective policies have been proposed.