News Column

Women prove good debt collectors

February 1, 2014

Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Feb. 01 -- RIYADH -- The debt collector's image is associated with a well-built man wearing a leather jacket, but the recent entry of Saudi women to this sector of the market has challenged this image. Hanan Al-Otaibi , 26, manages a team of female 12 debt collectors. The team pursues defaulters of loans advanced by Al-Rajhi Bank . Her team has settled 70 percent more debts than their male counterparts, and aims to expand into special office area and increase the number of its employees to 50 by this year's end. According to Al-Otaibi, women are temperamentally cool and have the ability to convince people to pay up. Al-Otaibi supervises fledgling commercial businesses, which indicates the growing momentum of women employment in the Kingdom. Over the past six years female participation in the work force has doubled. Their participation grew from 9 to 16 percent, decreasing female unemployment by 30 percent. Within its efforts to convince Saudis to transfer from government employment to private sector employment, the government is trying to attract more women to the labor market. Even though many women prefer a teaching job, some are moving toward other jobs. According to analyst John Sfakianakis , this is a major change which is the need of the hour. "Because of the increasing cost of living and the changing lifestyle both genders need to work," he said. Despite the fact that social attitudes toward female employment are easing, entering the workplace is not easy, because women are not allowed to drive in a country where public transport is still underdeveloped. "Work makes you feel powerful, but we are starting at zero level," said Eiman Al-Nafjan , a Saudi blogger. ___ (c)2014 the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) Visit the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Source: Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

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