Working in the Middle East
As economies recover and adjust from the impacts of the pandemic, many countries globally are looking overseas to recruit talent. Remote working brought an increased level of mobility to the global employment stage, and with the travel sector opening again, many workers may look to more attractive opportunities overseas.
The Middle Eastern countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are an area where the post-pandemic economic growth has been unprecedented, and because of this, opportunities for working in the Middle East have opened up.
In this article, we’ll take a brief look into the history of the GCC, and will discuss the trends for working in the Middle East, as well as the sectors that are currently in high demand.
The Gulf Cooperation Council
The Gulf Cooperation Council, commonly abbreviated as the GCC, is an economic and political alliance between six Middle Eastern countries. The GCC is comprised of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.
The GCC was first established in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, in May 1981. The GCC was formed with the aim of achieving unity among its member countries, based on a common ground of shared objectives and similar cultural identities, which are rooted in Islamic and Arabic cultures.
Global Mobility Trends for Working in the Middle East
As economies bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic, new jobs growth across the GCC region will continue in 2022. Towards the end of 2021, the GCC reported an 18.3% increase in job creation, and the trend is only set to continue.
In the UAE, for example, the jobs market has made a particularly strong recovery following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The UAE, which is the second largest economy in the GCC, has seen a huge amount of economic growth following the boost from Expo 2020 Dubai.
In Cooper Fitch’s UAE salary guide for 2022, it was reported that roughly 3% of businesses in the UAE planned to increase salaries by an average of 3% in line with the improvements in the job market and wider economy. It was also found that the UAE government’s positive handling of the coronavirus pandemic has played a part in the improvements to the economy.
Another survey conducted by Bayt.com, a jobs portal, found that 90% of working professionals in the Middle East felt optimistic about job prospects in 2022, as the employment market grows and improves with the bounce-back of the economy.
In-demand sectors for work in the Middle East
As the employment sector opens up with the recent economic growth in GCC countries, companies will be looking increasingly at attracting and retaining talent from workers overseas. And with the exponential growth of GCC economies, there are a number of sectors which are now searching to recruit more talent, and have been ear-marked as ‘high growth’ sectors.
High growth sectors for jobs in the Middle East
Technology, cyber security and software development are among those noted as ‘high growth’ job sectors in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries for 2022. Marketing, banking, and legal sectors are all also on the hunt for new talent.
The real estate sector has also seen exponential growth as the economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic, with housing becoming more in demand. You can read our article on the changes to the Middle East housing market to find out more about the changes in the real estate sector.
Medium growth sectors for jobs in the Middle East
Other sectors which have also experienced some significant growth, ear-marked as ‘medium growth’ sectors include the public sector, advisory work, HR, finance, supply chain and manufacturing.
Find out more
If you’re considering relocating to the Middle East for work opportunities, then check out our comprehensive guide on moving to the Abu Dhabi which will provide useful information for your relocation.
Read our guide on employment opportunities in the UAE to find out more about working in the Middle East.