KAPSARC is home to 120 full-time employees, with more than 40 visiting researchers and 22 different nationalities. Of our employees, around 70% are researchers. We have a low percentage of Saudis working in research (around 20%) as the research field is not well established in Saudi Arabia, so it can be a struggle to find suitable nationals.
One of the reasons for this is that universities here don’t have a solid curriculum that provides graduates with the right skills. We see many Saudi graduates lacking the basic skills in conducting research, so we are increasingly adopting our own education programmes in partnership with external universities.
Conversely, our operations department is approximately 75% Saudi. Even these roles are becoming more competitive for the right the talent, as the pool of nationals with the right skills and qualifications becomes smaller.
What we have learned is that it is difficult to find common ground when comparing people from different backgrounds. It’s hard to have a single solid assessment across cultures to find a perfect candidate.