This thesis examines the issue of Saudi women's salaries and promotions in the private sector. It explores the reasons behind the observed gap in salaries and discrimination in promotions and provides recommendations to mitigate the problem. The thesis is based on qualitative research methods, particularly on interviews with educated young and middle-career employees in companies in Saudi Arabia. Findings demonstrate that the main problem is not in Saudi labor law formulation, but in the implementations of these laws. Interviews show that there is a gap in salaries and financial promotions between Saudi female and male employees in most of the private sector companies. These private companies discriminate against Saudi women by giving them compensation packages that are lower than those awarded to men. Interviewees attribute the differences in managerial promotions between the Saudi female and male employees in a large number of private companies to discrimination, as some Saudi male employees do not accept the concept of a female as a supervisor to them. Interviewees identify two factors as related to this gap: lack of awareness about the Saudi labor policies and laws and weak implementation of these laws. Additionally, a company's specific compensation system is crucial to fair pay schemes to its employees. Interviewees note that the reason behind gender discrimination is the cultural values and not religion, considering that Saudis traditionally perceived men as being superior to women. Interviews also show that companies that fear for their reputation and seek to avoid penalties give Saudi females fair salaries based on their abilities.


Public Policy & Administration Department

Degree Name

MA in Public Administration

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2012

First Advisor

Barsoum, Ghada



Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Sex discrimition -- Law and legislation -- Saudi Arabia.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Women -- Law and legislation -- Saudi Arabia.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item