I have written previously about working generations but the problem was that the working generations were focused mainly on people in the United States of America. Therefore I have dedicated adequate time to focus on this matter. And as a result, I ended up with “A Century in Saudi’s Labor Market”.
Below I will be expanding on the Oil Generation (Started Working (1938-1960))
This was the generation that entered the workforce during the oil era of Saudi Arabia (1938 to 1960). That time was also different; having grown up when King Abdulaziz was just finishing uniting the now known as Saudi Arabia. Additionally, entering the workforce when most workers were needed as operational workers to work in the oil field, or the building of the Tapline or the construction of the railroad or joining the newly established (Military Industries Corporation), and (Saudia, previously known as Saudi Airlines). This entailed that they had to work in remote areas far from their families. This generation had the opportunity to learn first hand from the foreigner expert the vital knowledge in basic labor. It is also noteworthy to mention that during that time most of the ministries were being established.
Since the information was not flowing as it is now, this generation was mostly inspired by the newly found Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This meant an overhaul of the tribal way of life and the beginning of the centralized cities and towns. Additionally, the oil exploration definitely affected the generation. It is worthy to note that although “moving tribes” was beginning to decline, the tribal mentality was still a factor at that time.
- Strength & Hard Work: The lack of knowledge made the available opportunities very limited to rough and tough jobs. Only strong (mentally and physically) and hardworking individuals could have kept up.
- Introduction to On-Job Training: Due to the lack of knowledge of the era, on-job training was the main viable source of education.
- Continuity of Education: The potentials were identified and got intensive education which gave them the opportunity to shape the later generations.
- Tribal Mentality: Although some signs of change started to show, the general population was still operated by the tribal mentality.
- Strength & Hard Work: (Already mentioned above)
- Labor-Oriented: We have to look at that period as an opportunity period, anyone who worked more and learned was seen as a worthy member of society.
- Unprejudiced Towards Labor Work: The country was still shaping the landscape in regards to the socio-economical point of view. Being an active member of one of the mentioned companies was considered productive (no matter the level of employment was).
- Lack of Education: Given the resources available, education would have been a luxury not afforded by many. But there was a raise due to the newly found wealth in the country and it was mainly government aided.
- Inexpressive & Reserved Lifestyle: From a psychological perspective this could be considered as the humble learning phase because the whole the country was getting introduced to towns, machinery, and education (all new concepts).
- Inexperience: For obvious reasons of course.
Due to the nature of work that was available and the limited experience and knowledge, most Saudis worked as laborers in remote areas.
- Work Philosophy (why they work):
Hitch by Hitch: They went to work locations and worked for months. They earn enough money to cover all expenses and some savings. Looking back at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, towns and centralized governance covered the physiological needs and the main pursuit during this period was geared towards the Safety level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.