Surveys are suggesting an upturn in Gulf State expat jobs due to rising oil prices and non-oil economic growth.
Recruitment professionals specialising in the Gulf States are predicting a nine per cent increase of available jobs during 2018. The optimistic outlook is being spurred by the long-awaited surge in oil prices as well as a resurgence of confidence in non-oil economic growth. Crude oil prices, in the doldrums at between 30 and 50 dollars since 2016, are now averaging around 60 dollars a barrel and looking likely to either stay steady or increase further.
Kuwait is expected to have the fastest rate of new job creation, with some 18 per cent of the companies surveyed indicating their intention of increasing their headcounts. The emirate has the region’s highest dependence on oil and gas for its revenues, and is now seeing a boom caused by the recent oil price increases. Abu Dhabi is reporting similar improvements, with some 13 per cent of businesses increasing their personnel numbers, and Dubai’s non-oil sector is growing along with soaring infrastructure spending for its Expo 2020.
Saudi Arabia seems to be going in the opposite direction, with its jobs market shrinking due to the government’s Saudization policies. Whilst the policy is deemed successful as regards boosting Saudi employment, a number of companies are getting around Saudization by simply reducing their numbers of expat employees. In real terms, more expats are leaving than there are Saudis being hired. Oman’s job growth is stuttering at around two per cent, with its limited reserves of ‘black gold’ curbing the effect of the oil price recovery. In addition, the emirate’s strict Omanisation policies are holding back companies’ needs for expat labour.
As regards trends in other employment sectors, the healthcare sector is growing due to an expanding domestic population and new regulations sparking increased health coverage. The banking industry is in growth mode as it’s now responding to increased demand for credit from the improving macroeconomic environment. Skills in demand at present include those of financial professionals, and human resource professionals are on the list as companies prepare for expansion. Marketing specialists are needed to cement companies’ positions in an increasingly competitive marketplace as well as to develop new digital and mobile marketing channels.