On Campus in KSA: Expanding the Female Workforce

On Campus in KSA: Expanding the Female Workforce

June 03, 2014 at 03:06pm

Every country benefits from having more women participate in the labor force, says PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). In the United States, increased female workforce participation would add 5% to GDP. In Egypt, the impact on GDP would be 56%. While PwC didn’t calculate numbers for Saudi Arabia, the impact in next-door UAE would be a 12% boost.

So it’s clear that any steps to improve female workforce participation are good for economic growth. That’s why GE is working with universities and government partners to strengthen Saudi Arabia’s human capital, including its female human capital.

GE recently concluded initiatives with two all-women’s universities in support of this goal: the first, an MoU with Dammam University to offer annual scholarships to talented students and the second, a “GE Day” at Effat University in Jeddah.

The MoU covers a three-year period and is part of a broader Kingdom-wide commitment by GE to provide SAR 22 million ($5.87 million) in funds to support 60 academic scholarships annually. This includes 30 scholarships to students at the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), and 30 scholarships to female students from various universities in the Kingdom, including the University of Dammam.

During the GE Day at Effat University, GE executives led interactive sessions addressing a wide range of topics relevant to the workplace, with specific focus on strengthening the leadership skills of the students and highlighting the importance of localized innovation. A panel discussion on “Imagination at Work” included GE executives and business leaders, Effat University faculty, and student representatives.

Also at the event, GE executives gave students advice on what to consider when applying for a position with the company, what skills they need in the workplace and how to gain GE experience without being an employee. Students were encouraged to explore careers at the GE Manufacturing Technology Center in Dammam, which already employs two Saudi female engineers in the workshop and is looking to expand that number.

GE’s commitment to support women’s employment in Saudi Arabia is an ongoing process, with another recent example including the launch of the Business Processes Service Center, a business-outsourcing center that employs approximately 400 female Saudi university graduates. It was developed jointly by GE, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Saudi Aramco.

For more on GE’s decades-long support of human capital development in Saudi Arabia, click here.

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