Gulf Countries’ Demand for Professional Expats Rises

Kuwait City Skyline
Gulf Countries’ Demand for Professional Expats Rises

As the economy outlook in the Gulf region improves, the businesses ready to expand are set to hire more skilled expats.

Employment agencies specialising in recruiting international workforce for the Gulf countries are saying they are expecting a 9% rise of available vacancies this year as the results of the GulfTalent’s survey show. Over 1,100 CEOs and executive managers of firms across the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) participated in the survey.

The optimism is boosted by increasing oil prices, but also by a fact that non-oil based sectors of Gulf economy have been growing steadily over the past few years.



The recent rise in oil prices was, of course, the crucial factor in driving employment. The price of crude oil, that was at between 30 and 50 dollars since 2016, has been averaging around 60 dollars a barrel in the past six months and looking likely to either stay steady or increase further. 


It looks like Kuwait is going to lead the job creation spree as around 18% of the companies surveyed indicated they are planning to expand and employ more people.

In the UAE, around 13% of firms are reporting an increase in personnel, driven by a recovering oil sector in Abu Dhabi as well as growth in Dubai’s non-oil sector, including the impact of infrastructure spending for Expo 2020 and soaring non-oil foreign trade.

The notable exceptions are Saudi Arabia and Oman. Due to their strict Saudisation and Omanisation policies the countries are following the opposite trend with more and more professional expats leaving the job market.

What sectors are looking to employ professionals?

As the healthcare sector is growing rapidly in the Gulf region trying to match the increase in population and provide services according to the new health coverage regulations, healthcare professionals are high on the demand list.

The same goes for the banking industry as it’s now responding to increased demand for credit from the improving macroeconomic environment.

What skills are most in demand?

Financial professionals and human resource specialists are in high demand as companies prepare for expansion.

Marketing and IT professionals are highly sought to help businesses successfully navigate in digital age.

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