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A New Dawn: How One Saudi Company is Championing its Female Workers

arkad-mainShortly after a landmark month, in which women in the Kingdom were given the right to drive, this Saudi Arabian company is investing in the next generation of female business leaders.

June was a turning point in Saudi Arabia, with the launch of a historic royal decree that saw women get behind the wheel for the very first time. However, it isn’t the only reform in the Kingdom that’s helping broaden opportunities for women. As part of Vision 2030, the country’s post-oil economic plan, the Kingdom is on a mission to increase women’s participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%.

Looking to help the nation achieve that goal is Arkad, the largest Saudi Arabian-established and owned energy services company. The business, which provides construction and engineering services, as well as researching and developing new technologies, also has a strong focus on developing and nurturing talent. As part of that ethos, which is in line with Vision 2030, many Arkad leaders are passionate about getting more Saudi women into the workforce. Among them is Arkad board member Dr. Lina Noureddin, who has 20 years’ experience overseeing major projects in the Saudi energy sector. Here, she explains just how the company is championing its female force.

“From a young age, I dreamed of achieving big things, and I want other women to do the same. People ask me about the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 strategy, and what it means for future generations of talented Saudi women. The answer is clear: Saudi Arabia is opening up, and more females are getting the sorts of opportunities that were unthinkable just a generation ago. Aramco recently appointed Lynn Laverty Elsenhans as its first female board member – a major milestone for a company that has always strived to empower female business leaders – and last year the Saudi Stock Exchange appointed Sarah AlSuhaimi as its first female chair.

“At a local level, we are beginning to benefit from the heavy investment in skills and training provided by the Kingdom for our female workforce. At Arkad, the total workforce now comprises more than 15% females and we intend to grow that number significantly over the coming years. Arkad has a future leaders program, where we identify the next generation of female business leaders and invest in their careers through education, training, and mentoring programs.

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“We are proud to work closely with local government and industry bodies such as the Saudi Council of Engineers, who work tirelessly with universities and businesses to skill up the next generation of female engineers.

“Every day I see our female workers doing things people said would never be possible inside the Kingdom. They are smart, entrepreneurial, and dedicated. They live Arkad’s promise: structured for success. As Arkad continues to grow and fly the Saudi flag across the world, I am confident that our female workforce will continue to grow and develop, to create a prosperous future for all.”

On the Ground

Norah Alotaiba is a planning engineer at Arkad. Here, she shares her journey.

arkad-1What do you do?
I am a planning engineer at Arkad E&C, helping plan some of the biggest oil and gas engineering projects across Saudi Arabia.

Who is your personal hero?
Nabilah Al-Tunisi, who is also known as the Iron Lady. She was recently recognized as one of the 25 most influential women in project management globally. She inspires me through her deep knowledge, hard work, and dedication.

What is your proudest moment at Arkad?
We recently reached 1,000km of fully automatic pipelines welded on our current projects in Saudi Arabia. Knowing that I am playing a part in the future of Saudi Arabia’s energy infrastructure makes me immensely proud.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I want my career to progress until I am in a position to help other talented female engineers break into the industry.

What advice would you give young women trying to become engineers?
Never give up! If I can do it, so can you.

Promo image: InDigital.tv

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