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The Saudi experiment with career guidanceSaudi Arabia has recently embarked on an ambitious experiment with career guidance. The country has identified that career guidance offers a range of potential cultural, educational and economic benefits. These include supporting the Saudisation of the workforce, the development of the vocational education system and the engagement of the Saudi ‘youth bulge’ in the labour market and wider society. However, the country has a weak tradition of career guidance and a need to develop new policies and systems rapidly. The Saudi Ministry of Labour has driven the development of the country’s new career guidance system and has sought to learn from global best practice. However, Saudi Arabia offers a very different context from those where career guidance has flourished. Particularly distinctive features of Saudi society include its limited civil society, the central role that religion plays, the place of women, the role of oil within the economy and the high level of migrant workers in the labour market. Taken together these issues offer challenges of culture, theory, policy and practice. Negotiating these challenges and building an organic body of theory and practice will be critical to the success or otherwise of the Saudi experiment with career guidance.