Gulf jobs in oil and gas decreasing but IT and medicine sectors on the up

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 10 Feb 2016

Growing trend towards private healthcare contributes to increasing number of medical roles

Jobs in oil and gas are declining but the IT and medicine sectors are looking much healthier, registering the most job vacancies in the GCC, according to new research from jobs website
Studying figures from October to December 2015, it found a 21 per cent increase in IT jobs, as well as a 14 per cent growth rate in jobs for medical professionals, and a three per cent rise in HR, administration and engineering positions.
“At the macro level, Middle East news has been dominated by layoffs, but this is not just because of the downturn in oil,” says Deepak Goyal, a senior HR consultant for Fortune 500 and GCC organisations. “In fact ARAMCO and ADNOC plan to invest $35 billion and $25 billion respectively in new oil projects because the lead time to production is quite long.
“I am surprised to see the increase in IT jobs, although most jobs in this sector in the Middle East tend to be support roles, rather than development posts. The medical sector increase is not a surprise, as there the private medical sector is growing.”
The study also revealed there are now fewer positions advertised in the finance and accounting industry. The retail and oil and gas sectors also saw far fewer jobs advertised, with 16 per cent less for retail, and 12 per cent less for oil and gas.
“The base numbers in these sectors are quite low,” says Goyal. “The oil and gas industry is in a mode of reflection and consolidation, but it is preparing for the future. But it would be a mistake to write off the oil and gas and finance sectors in the Middle East. This is the time to acquire talent that might not be otherwise available, but not to make the mistake of trying to acquire it cheaply.”
Meanwhile, a study by, Top industries in the Middle East and North Africa, revealed that different industries are perceived to have shown the strongest growth in different GCC countries Respondents believed that, in Lebanon, the banking and finance industry grew the most in 2015, whereas in Jordan, the IT industry boomed. In Qatar, the construction industry showed the strongest growth, and for the UAE, respondents said that they airline industry was the biggest performer in 2015.
Looking forward to 2016, “demand for high quality talent, that can change the game, will remain high,” predicts Goyal. “There will be some consolidation in oil and gas, and maybe even a shift towards services rather than assets in the offshore industry. We might also see a demand for corporate development/strategy-related talent. Talent that can help organisations streamline processes (reduce cost and improve predictability) and help with globalisation will see some pull.”