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SMEs seek ‘good talent' and tech-oriented rules
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 22 - 04 - 2017

Saudi Gazette
THE majority of graduates and job seekers opt for big corporations and multinational organizations, making it a challenge for small and medium enterprises to find talent and foster growth in their innovative businesses.
Dozens of startups and tech companies participated at Talents Market, a job fair organized by the SMEs General Authority and King Salman Youth Center recently.
"Most talents are being recruited by large corporations, banks, and big names. One of the major challenges for SMEs is attracting those talents," said Faris Alturki, head of youth businessmen committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
One reason businesses fail is difficulty in hiring qualified employees, he added, in addition to other logistical factors and lack of experience and knowledge in the market.
There's a big difference between working in a startup and a company that an overwhelming majority of the public still are not aware of, according to Lulwa Alsoudairy, cofounder and CEO of, an online marketplace for local production that launched a year and a half ago.
"SMEs are innovation-centric," she said. "It's difficult to be innovative in big companies because of hierarchy, for example, as opposed to us where anything a team member does is recognized."
Employees in an entrepreneurial venture have multiple roles to play, she added, and can directly contribute to the business or society it impacts.
Tech companies are still relatively new to the Kingdom that predominantly remains to cater to businesses in a traditional way. "Compared to the US, the infrastructure for e-commerce here lacks," she said.
"One factor is that logistic companies need to be more technological savvy. Another is we're still a cash-oriented society whereas, as an e-commerce looking to advance, we need a credit-spaced one."
"Those who work in SMEs are the ones who have the biggest opportunity to innovate and execute ideas," said development coach Turki Qashlan commenting on creating attractive environments for employees.
As high competition in the job market faces fresh graduates and a looming unemployment rate, more and more universities and recruitment companies offer training and assistance in job-hunting through training programs and workshops.
At times, the problem for graduates is in finding job opportunities, according to human resources professionals.
"Many of those looking for jobs face companies that require work experience. It's difficult for them to have work experience if no one gives them a chance in the first place," said Heba Malki, public relations officer at Nujeed, a local online platform linking job seekers and employers.
"One of the things we do is work with companies to offer training opportunities for fresh graduates."
Graduates need to be more flexible when entering the job market, said Nareman Andijani, lecturer and training supervisor of pharmacy training department at the Ibn Sina College.
"When applying for a job, they look for the highest salaries, what titles they'll be given, and when they will get promotions. I usually advise them to first build their career by being open-minded and accepting different opportunities even if it is not necessarily related to their academic background.
SMEs in different fields ranging from design, media, automotive, education, food and beverage, participated at the Talents Market that seeks to bridge the gap.

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