Laying the foundations for the future: the path to tomorrow
The past year has highlighted the huge strides that our country has made when it comes to future proofing our economy as we accelerate out of the pandemic.
Whether it’s empowering women to achieve their goals, creating a skilled nationalised workforce, strengthening our citizen experiences, and investing in our infrastructure, I am proud to be a part of the fabric of this forward-thinking country.
But as we take stock of the journey we have been on so far, this Saudi National Day, there is an opportunity for us all to unite, take stock, pause, and reflect on the path ahead as we lay down the foundations for an even brighter tomorrow.
The ambitions laid out in Vision 2030 to create a solid infrastructure and empowerment across different sectors has highlighted the importance of building on our heritage as we position ourselves as a world-class destination in every aspect.
Our only limiting factor is the constraints of our own minds. The Vision itself has provided a framework for opportunity, and it is has helped us all to focus by providing us with this clear framework for realising our collective goals.
A focus on talent
For one, Vision 2030 has created so many job opportunities within the public and the private sector, which has resulted in an increased need for a capable and skillful global yet local workforce.
Testament to this is the fact that our government established The Human Capability Development Programme, which aims to ensure that citizens have the required capabilities to compete globally by instilling values and developing basic and future skills, as well as enhancing their knowledge.
This is where international private sectors should play their part and offer work experiences and placements to transfer best practice and lessons learned from different regions. This gives local talent the opportunity to learn and develop from real work experiences, providing them with the key skills that benefit both their personal development and that of our nation’s.
Promoting the female agenda
Coupled with this are the increasing opportunities for women – which are only set to continue as our economy continues to make great strides.
A number of companies are already exceeding the target for the number of women they employ in the labour market, and this is bringing with it a new type of workforce, fueled by gender diversity and a level of value not seen historically.
As a Saudi woman who started her career path with the public sector, and later moving to the private sector, I can confidently say that Saudi women have so much potential and provide great value to any role. By supporting each other, we will not only grow our careers, but we will also contribute to the country’s economy and support the Kingdom’s vision.
Epitomising our vision
Aside from the workforce, our focus on people first also extends to the infrastructure that Saudi Arabia invests in.
The multiple Giga projects, and new construction, which is transforming the skylines of our cities, is not only creating future opportunities and positioning us as financial and business hubs, but it also creating great experiences for our citizens. It is these ambitious projects that epitomise our future: it is one of growth, knowledge, and huge potential. And this is what is represented in the major projects that highlight our focus on Vision 2030.
One area that will be a focus for organisations and ministries is asset management.
The scale and the pace of development in the Kingdom led to a proliferation of non-standardised operations and maintenance (O&M) practices, leading to record O&M expenses and accelerated value erosion. This exponential growth in expenditure could impact funding at a national level and so starting these new projects with a strategic approach to Asset Management is essential to avoid further burdening an aging infrastructure with increasing levels of urbanisation. The Serco and Expo Transformation team have now developed the National Manual for Facilities and Asset Management and the rollout of this across government ministries will be key to consistency in approach, performance acceleration and cost efficiencies, allowing for investment to be better spent in support of the Vision.
Empowering the private sector and national power
To achieve this Vision, the private sector undoubtedly has an important role to play. With so much to achieve ahead of 2030, and with the country going through major transformations, it has been key for our government to increase the private sector’s contribution from 40% to 65% of GDP*, and harness its expertise where needed.
This has elevated the standards amongst projects, services, and customer experience, allowing the Kingdom to become even more globally competitive. But to maintain our strong heritage and identity, the nationalisation strategy will continue to be important, fueled by the need for knowledge transfer to ensure we remain committed to supporting Saudi nationals. This comes as an effort to guarantee sustainability of the national content and knowledge transfer taking place from international to local.
As a result of aligning with the private sector, new job opportunities are being created, which is greatly contributing to their level of experience and skills.
For example, Serco operates within the Kingdom and supports the government in different sectors such as citizen services and transport, offering digital transformation, facilities and asset management, fire and rescue services and much more. This has exponentially opened my horizons and allowed me to gain knowledge, international experience, and a new set of skills that I can translate locally and benefit the community and the economy.
Shortly after announcing Vision 2030, the Saudi government launched The Financial Sector Development Programme as part of its plan to support the growth of the private sector. It was also launched to develop an advanced capital market, diversify the economy, privatise government services, and boost and enable financial planning.
So far, we have witnessed the announcement of Saudi’s Giga projects; we have seen a major focus on tourism and historic attractions, with much investment in the entertainment sector.
This has supported the growth of the local economy and has led to more diversification amongst the population, creating more opportunities for private investors and as a result more job opportunities, especially for the local workforce.
With that in mind, we can see that the Kingdom will not only be achieving its 2030 Vision in the next nine years, but we will also be advancing our position on the world stage. We are proud, committed and focused on the years ahead as we set the agenda for other economies to follow our lead.
KSA Country Director Mona Althagafi
Mona is responsible for driving growth in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which includes the operational delivery of our core offering of data, asset and workforce management. She plays an integral role in establishing and growing the Citizen Services business in the Kingdom, to support Vision 2030 with a commitment to service excellence and customer experience, strengthened through our ExperienceLab Middle East.