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Skilled workers with GCC experience 'hard to find'

by Neha Bhatia on Jan 7, 2016

Skilled workers with GCC experience are hard to find in the region. [Representational image]
Skilled workers with GCC experience are hard to find in the region. [Representational image]

Finding construction professionals with GCC experience remains a challenge for local building outfits, a senior recruiter said. 

Public spending in the GCC has been reduced for the year in major markets such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which has led to a degree of uncertainty regarding anticipated infrastructure investments in 2016. 

Niall Hughes, senior consultant for construction at Morgan McKinley's Dubai offices, told Construction Week the private sector, however, continues to require skilled workers for its project pipeline. 

"We are seeing some people being let go as projects come to an end and other projects that were due to start now being put on hold," Hughes said. 

"Having said all that, demand from the private sector is still strong and highly skilled construction professionals with local GCC experience are still difficult to find.

"We found [in 2015] that many employers were willing to make counter offers to retain staff that were going to move to competitors." 

Hughes said that while employers are reluctant to hire workers without GCC experience, enticing candidates to switch jobs is "extremely difficult without paying a premium on salaries".

"This in turn is impacting their ability to secure people with the relevant skill-set to ensure projects get completed on time and within budget to the standards expected," he continued. 

Almost half of GCC construction professionals expect to change jobs within the next 12 months, according to the results of Construction Week’s 2015 Salary Survey.

When quizzed about their plans for the future, 49% of survey respondents said that they intend to move on from their current role during the coming year.

Of those who plan to change jobs, 92.86% expect to remain within the GCC region.