Private Firms Boost Gulf Jobs – At Expense Of Expats

Private companies are leading the charge to hire new staff in the Gulf States – but many of the jobs are aimed at locals instead of expats.

Accountants, human resource executives and receptionists are the jobs companies most want to fill in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

While 1,500 private sector jobs went to Oman nationals in just one week in March.

The figures show that the campaign by Gulf State governments to encourage more locals to take up work at the expense of expats is driving forward.

New research by recruitment firm Bayt suggests two-thirds of UAE companies expect to hire up to 10 new staff over the next 12 weeks.

Construction building success

The firms are hunting for junior executives – especially those with business qualifications. Demand is high across the Middle East and North Africa for the right candidates, the study showed.

Private sector employment is racing ahead in the UAE, with four out of 10 taking on new staff in the past three months, while two-thirds had recruited in the past six months.

The bad news for expats is nearly three-quarters of UAE nationals are keen on taking up local jobs.

Construction is the most popular sector, with just over 40% of nationals, while 38% have found posts in the burgeoning tourism and hospitality sector.

The confidence is not confined to the Gulf States as 60% of employers across North Africa and the Middle East expressed they were looking for new staff.

A separate survey expects major world events like the FIFA World Cup Finals 2022 in Qatar and Expo 2020 in Dubai will create more than 275,000 jobs by 2030.

Visa change for expats

Construction is one key sector as the region lays down infrastructure for the events, including road and rail links, plus hundreds of hotels for visitors and homes for workers.

In Oman, construction was the sector recruiting more than a third of all staff in March, with the Consolidated Contractors Company-Oman the biggest employer of Omanis, hiring 61 locals.

Wholesale, shops and vehicle repairs hired almost a fifth of Omanis in the month – with 12% going into manufacturing.

At the same time, new regulations in Oman demanding expats leave the moment their visa expires is leading to a flood of expats exiting the nation.

Other visa changes, like refusing entry to families of expats earning less than £950 a month, are also discouraging many expats from seeking work in Oman.

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