Starbucks hosts second “Over Coffee” session to advance Saudization drive

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Company explains employment programs and training initiatives that helped raise local staff from 9% to 23%

Saudi Arabia: Starbucks Saudi Arabia hosted the second session of its “Over Coffee” event in Riyadh on 7 August and in Jeddah on 8 August to discuss the important progress in its Saudization campaign, which seeks to localize 35% of the company’s workforce by 2020. The event is designed to promote engagement and hold useful discussion to encourage Saudi youth to consider working for the service sector as career option and contribute to the achievement of Saudi Vision 2030.  During the sessions, a number of Saudi Starbucks partners discussed their work experiences in the company.

“Over Coffee” is part of Starbucks’s Saudization and social impact agenda, which addresses key workforce challenges, reshapes public perceptions of youth taking on jobs in the retail and service sector, explains the role of Starbucks employees, and prepares young Saudis for the economy sector and the jobs of the future.

Starbucks stressed at the sessions that it is committed to employing 400 Saudi nationals from both sexes in the upcoming period as part of its support for the Saudization program in line with Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program. The company discussed the tools and development experiences that the company offers to empower partners and create opportunities for Saudi youth.

And as part of its support for Vision 2030, the company discussed its partnership with Education for Employment, the leading youth employment organization in the region, noting that under this partnership two workforce entry programs called “Pathway to a Job” and “Opportunity Café” were designed to enlighten and develop Saudi youths and help them fast-track their careers into the service sector. Under the two programs, more than 18 workshops have so far been held in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, attracting over 160 attendees.

The participants in the Riyadh and Jeddah sessions were also introduced to the dedicated microsite starbucksforyouthksa.com/ar , which Starbucks KSA launched to streamline the hiring process and share its values as an employer and a consumer brand. The average traffic to the site, which also serves as a hub for the company’s efforts to further engage the Saudi community, increased by 89%, with an average number of 2,500 daily visits, and with the career page receiving over 25,000 views.

Commenting on this extensive national advocacy campaign, Rana Shaheen, Regional Communications and CSR Manager, Starbucks Middle East, said: “Since its launch in 2017, Starbucks’ Saudization campaign has managed to increase the percentage of Saudi partners in the company from 9% to 23%. By 2020, we aim to localize 35% of the workforce and accelerate training of Saudi partners at all levels.” She added: “We continually engage, recognize, and reward partners for their ongoing contributions to Starbucks success.”

Starbucks also talked about the Management Training Program (MTP) that it designed to provide fresh Saudi graduates, both male and female, with the right tools and training that make them eligible for management roles at its stores. The program is focused towards empowering, nurturing and inspiring young Saudi individuals for suitable management level roles in the retail sector. So far, 80 Saudis have graduated from the MTP.

The participants were also introduced to the company’s Barista Training Program (BTP), an entry-level program designed for Starbucks partners across the Kingdom and aimed at training and preparing young Saudi individuals, both male and female, for employment opportunities at the store level in Starbucks. More than 15 Saudis have graduated from this program so far.

Other Starbucks KSA initiatives highlighted at the sessions included collaboration with Saudi Social media influencers to encourage Saudi youth to join Starbucks and realize their full potential within the retail industry. The partnership reached to 4,066 submitted CVs and got 700,000 views within a week, with Starbucks hiring 300 Saudis through it. Starbucks is also in the process of launching a series of videos that will help Saudi youth to better understand Starbucks culture and employee profile.

Discussing their work experiences at the “Over Coffee” event, Saudi Starbucks employees noted how the company, known globally as an employer of choice, engages, recognizes and rewards them for their work and contribution and helps them to grow in their career and communities and to be future leaders. They noted fast track professional progress with Starbucks through continuous training in a welcoming and enriching work environment.

Starbucks has been operating in Saudi Arabia since 2000. The company now has 155 locations with over 1650 partners, including 350 Saudis, an average of two Saudi partners in every Starbucks store across the kingdom.

Interested individuals from both sexes can apply for jobs through the company’s microsite starbucksforyouthksa.com.

About Starbucks:

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality Arabica coffee in the world. Today, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world through its stores chain around the globe. The company commit to bring the unique Starbucks Experience to every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores.