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 Boomer Generation A.K.A. Tafrah Generation, Started Working (1980-1990)
This was the generation that entered the workforce age exactly after the first economic boom of Saudi Arabia A.K.A. “Tafrah” (1980 to 1990). This generation grew up seeing their fathers and uncles work in offices with expats. They witnessed the effect of education on careers. This generation had the opportunity to actually be properly educated in “proper” education systems. They also witnessed the beginning of women education. This generation entered the workforce when high positions were readily available for most Saudis. During this era, there was a significant increase in the numbers of foreign workers after the oil crisis.
This generation was mostly influenced by TVs, Telephones, Newspapers, the resignation of King Saud and the assassination of King Faisal. Furthermore, it was affected by the establishment of companies such as PetroMin, Sabic, SCECO, Saudi Oger, and the government acquiring 100% of Saudi Aramco.
Additionally, the culture has been shocked by the Grand Mosque seizure attempt in 1979 and the subsequent extreme religious shift.
- Proper Education: This means the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university. Universities and programs focused on the need of the era.
- Smart Work: The increase of focus on education started to raise intelligence and the culture embraced working smart rather than working hard.
- Minimizing Family Members: The tribal mentality remained but significantly started to decrease and as families grew larger, the people started to create their homes with their direct family members, and the size of the family started to minimize 4-6 persons was the average median of that era.
- Working Towards an Individual Goal: That goal would be securing their individuality and creating their family unit accordingly.
- High Loyalty: The high loyalty can be attributed to many things. But from an HR perspective, it was mostly noticed that governmentally funded organizations were taking the lead in developing people.
- Engineering Oriented: Covering the administrative and management side of business let to a natural progression of professional levels of operation and a significant increase in engineering studies and opportunities.
- Relationship Focus: The Socio-Economical structure started to take its shape, although tribal mentality still lingered.
- Management Style: In Saudi nowadays when we say someone has an “Old School” management style, it is a mention of the management of this era. It was authoritative and non-inclusive.
- Some Narcissistic & Self-Centered Behaviours: The fact that being raised in the “Tafrah” period, led to some narcissistic tendencies and behaviors started to appear in the workplace.
- Technology Impairment: Technology has started to be required in the business sector, but the knowledge was extremely lacking.
- Reluctance to Change: Experiencing stability in life reached a point that change was feared to abolish the newly found luxuries.
- No Budget Concern: Again, this can be surely attributed to the lack of its need during the “Tafrah” period.
- Diffusion of responsibility: It is a sociopsychological phenomenon whereby a person is less likely to take responsibility for action or inaction when others are present. Considering a form of attribution, the individual assumes that others either are responsible for taking action or have already done so. Additionally, and due to the events of the Grand Mosque seizure attempt individuals became reluctant to provide help because of the fear of people’s view or judgment.
Cities began to take shape and the infrastructure (although little) in comparison to the barren desserts were extremely desirable. Saudis during this period were mostly targeting office work in the headquarters of their company in the major cities.
- Work Philosophy(why they work):
Large and especially government-funded organization succeeded in taking the role of a nurturer. That guaranteed the loyalty of that generation and it could be noticed that the usual aim was to works towards retirement.