OMC Hires 300 Saudis, Offers Free Training

RIYADH, 11 October 2007 — In a major move to cut reliance on foreign workers, Al-Othaim Markets Co. (OMC) has announced plans to recruit 300 Saudi employees this year within the framework of an agreement signed by OMC and the government-owned Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF). The OMC is also working with the General Organization for Technical Education & Vocational Training to hire trained Saudi manpower.

Yousef Mohammed Al-Gafari, OMC’s company’s executive president, said here yesterday Othaim Group has already set up an academy to train Saudi graduates for free.

“We make them skilful and provide job opportunities for 10 percent of the trained recruits, while the remaining 90 percent are absorbed by our competitors. We are doing this as part of our corporate social responsibility.”

The Othaim Academy, he said, provides free training and it has so far trained over 9,000 Saudis. “Out of this, 1,800 Saudi youths have been hired by Othaim Group,” Al-Gafari said. He pointed out that “Saudi youths are showing enthusiasm to undergo training. But, they don’t stay longer with one employer. There is a need to impose tighter restrictions, or make it mandatory for Saudis to stay at least one year with one employer.”

The company currently has a total of over 4,500 employees including Saudis on its payroll. Al-Gafari further said that an SR25 million state-of-the-art food processing project is being set up by the company at the moment. This 17,000 square meter facility in Riyadh, which will make Othaim much stronger in food processing segment, will be inaugurated on Nov. 1 this year.

He pointed out that “our focus is on mid-size stores. “We have to adapt to international standards in the Kingdom. We also want to convey the idea of freshness of our products and underline the fact that we have transformed ourselves to cater to the shopping needs of consumers who prefer one-stop shopping today.” “At the moment, we have 78 Othaim outlets throughout the Kingdom,” he added.

Two more stores, one in Riyadh and the other in Al-Ahsa (Eastern Province), are set to open shortly, he said. “Moreover, we have finalized plans to enter into the Western region next year,” he added, denying any adverse impact on the sale or business because of the proliferation of malls and hypermarkets. He said “our company has reported 2.5 percent growth in profits this year.”

However, he said soaring cost of real estate is contributing to the price rise and also marginalizing the profits. The company, according to a report published recently, was also exploring “seriously” the possibility of setting up a training program for women.

“The program would not necessarily be for the hypermarkets. But, the company wants to see whether it could be tailored to the needs of government and other retailers to see what kind of job opportunities could be created for them,” said the report.

Add Comment