The West is currently facing wide-spread economic uncertainty due to the long-lasting impact of the pandemic, war between Russia and Ukraine, supply chain disruptions and more all leading to debt, inflation and high cost of living. This has led to uncertainty for many of the industries around the world reliant on Western demand and investment.
During this time, the Middle East has strengthened their global standing by having many industries and increasing economic diversity. Considering the positive performance of many economies in the UAE and GCC, many experts predict that the Middle East is more than prepared to withstand the economic turbulence in the West.
Indeed, many industries are thriving and experiencing increased investment from overseas backers, creating increased demands and opportunities for skilled professionals.
What are some of the potential opportunities facing the Middle East?
Alternative Supply Chains
The pandemic and Russia-Ukraine conflict have both contributed to a rise in costs across various sectors. Many organisations are looking for alternative supply chain partners and the UAE has been a long-standing hub of global trade.
Private Sector Credit Accessibility
UAE banks are not as exposed to the turbulence arising from Russian and Ukrainian financial fall out. Access to credit in the private sector will ensure industry in the Middle East sustains its current level of macroeconomic growth.
Due to its strategic location and growing economies, the Middle East has received a lot of recent investment. The UAE has also made it legal for non-resident investors to own up to 100% of the total shareholding in any UAE company. This presents a favourable alternative to riskier investments in Western economies.
Growth Of Technology Sector
The Middle East is beginning to diversify its economy away from oil and gas, with MENA startups in the region bringing in $1.73 billion of investment in the first half of 2022 alone. These startups encompass AgriTech, Proptech and FinTech industries.
Dubai saw a $4 billion surge in real estate investment and Abu Dhabi achieved record property sales of 3 billion in 2022’s Q1. The property market in the region continues to grow, independent of international factors.
The UAE’s drive to diversify its economy has resulted in a strengthening of the economic position of many Middle Eastern countries, with various industries receiving investment and large foreign organisations expanding into the region.
With increased investment comes a surge of demand for highly-skilled professionals to deliver the region’s ambitions maintain its position as an international hub of commerce, tourism, and strategic investment.
We are seeing opportunities becoming available across a variety of industries for both employers and candidates alike as the Middle East’s private and public sectors continue to develop and expand operations amidst Western economic uncertainty.
Which markets are currently seeing the most recruitment demand across the region?
With the increased levels of real estate investment in Dubai and Abu Dhabi last year, there has become a demand for skilled workers in the construction industry. This is also bolstered by the UAE making Visa applications easier.
Finance and Accounting
With increased start up investment and growing economies comes a demand for finance and accounting professionals.
Healthcare: Healthcare in the Middle East is considered well developed, with Turkey especially being renowned for its medical tourism. The MEA MedTech market is also projected to grow by 2027 with a CAGR of 3.6.
The Middle East is following the worldwide trend of technology development and investment, reflected by increased demand from professionals in areas like software development, data science and cybersecurity.
What are some of the challenges facing employers in the Middle East?
Thriving industry and investment in the GCC, ME and UAE are promising indications of a professional infrastructural development. However, as is the case with all regions, the opportunities are not consistent across all sectors and demographics with various areas still under development.
Successful economic policymaking includes the controlling of government deficit and debt levels while maintaining low inflation and stable interest rates. While the UAE and GCC perform well, several countries in the surrounding region, including Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon are ranked as some of the most indebted countries in the world. There is also pressure for the continual building of human capital in the region, requiring meaningful investment in traditionally marginalised demographics.
Macroeconomic stability is notoriously difficult to maintain amongst oil export countries working against boom-and-bust commodity cycles. This is mitigated with the more recent drives towards economic diversity, however, there are still financial strains left over from the 2014 oil price crash.
Even amongst these challenges, the Middle East region has become the subject of attention for many investors and professionals seeking to expand their global footprint. While the IMF forecasts a third of the world’s economies will enter a recession in 2023, many Middle Eastern economies, especially GCC members, are looking to buck these incoming global trends with their low inflation levels and consistent growth levels.
Professionals who ‘internationalise’ their CVs will be positioned strongly in the coming years, especially with rapid changes to flexible working policy. Employers who seek to leverage the opportunities presented by turbulence in the West should look to create robust recruiting strategies now.
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