Be it Oman or be it the UAE, be it Qatar or be it Saudi Arabia, the expats have always found a hospitable environment to work in the Gulf. This also accounts as a major reason for millions of workers flocking from various corners of the world in search of the right employment prospect in these 6 countries across the Gulf.
But is there a body governing the employment scenario in these countries?
Yes, you’re thinking right, indeed there is.
The Gulf Co-operation council or more commonly known as the GCC was founded on 26th May 1981 with a single motive- Socio-economic development amongst the member states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and last but not the least the UAE. Having been instrumental in proliferating economic growth in the region, there are several issues it has efficiently dealt with.
What is the employment scenario in the GCC countries?
• According to a report by the IMF, economic growth in all of the GCC countries has been labor intensive and majorly associated with a large inflow of foreign labor. Employment has been increased from 0.75 percent in Oman to 1.77 percent in Dubai (UAE). Similarly, growth rate ranging between 0.45 percent to 1.53 percent has been observed in Qatar and Oman respectively.
• The countries in the GCC are expected to have almost 6 million workers by 2010-15 with more that two-third of the jobs going to the expatriates.
The table below clearly suggests by 2015, 5,696 jobs will be created out of which more than half will be secured by foreign workers.
• One of the major economic sectors in the Gulf-the oil sector, provides employment to more than 97% of the expatriates. The preponderance of expat population in the workforce is quite evident by the fact that during 2011 nearly half of the working population in Saudi Arabia and more than 90% in Qatar came from various corners around the world.
• According to a 2013 report by HSBC, the UAE continues to draw in career-oriented expats and ranks 16th out of 37 countries in the Expat economic league tables of 2013. Moreover, 70% of the foreign workers in the country have also claimed that the remuneration in the region is exponentially higher when compared to their homeland.
• In addition to this 80% of the expats are satisfied with the liberal economic policies and reforms introduced in the Gulf resulting in a highly efficient workforce.
• Half of the expats (51%) are aged between 18 and 35, which clearly suggest the numerous job opportunities this country has for foreign talent.
• Saudi Arabia on the other hand has seen 68% of expat inflow, mainly due to better job prospects with 47% of them satisfied with the economic growth of the nation. Not only this, but 56% of expats claim to have paid less income tax than they used to pay in their own country.
• Expats from Egypt, Pakistan, and India are found to be in majority with population figures of 32%, 12% and 11% respectively. Out of these 19% are absorbed in the construction and engineering sector, 12% in Sales and Customer service and 9% in the health care industry.
• However, according to a survey conducted by Internations, Oman is the most popular country of choice amongst expat workers in the Gulf. The survey was based on parameters like career growth prospects, working environment, ease of settling in, personal finance etc.
Efforts made by the GCC
• With change in the financial policies like the fiscal, expenditure and revenue policies introduced all across the gulf, a major private sector growth has been observed in the Gulf countries. Consequently, more number of companies in these countries are expected to increase their headcount by the end of this year. For instance, 75% of the companies in Qatar, 63% in Saudi Arabia and 57% in the UAE are looking forward to create new jobs.
• The GCC governments have started making investments like providing seed capital to proliferate startup growth and investing on infrastructure to create innovation hubs. This has led to a rise in demand for skilled workers from across the globe in various economic sectors.
• GCC governments have also started to focus on enabling a competitive business environment to yield national companies in the local market, resulting in a higher number of private companies requiring a huge number of skilled personnel.
• According to Arab news, expatriates in the Gulf region will be allowed to move freely across all GCC countries, be it for employment purpose or settling in. The final draft of the law will be passed by the GCC labor ministers by November end.
• The GCC governments have ensured a political, social and legal climate that supports economic competition and felicitate the skilled workers with appropriate rewards. Various political reforms to ease restrictions on the expatriates have also cause a much satisfied expat population all across the Gulf.
Be it introducing liberal economic policies or be it easing restrictions by the induction of lenient norms for the expats, the GCC has succeeded in comforting professionals from all over the world to lead a productive work life. Opportunities in the region are abundant, it all depends on your skills and talent.
Author Bio: Anshuman Kukreti is a professional writer and a keen follower of the global job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics relating to employment across the Gulf. Currently he is working for Naukrigulf.