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Skilled labour demand may hit pre-recession levels

Large scale projects in KSA and Qatar will see labour costs escalate

Demand for skilled labour is likely to increase over the coming few years in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Photo:Getty.
Demand for skilled labour is likely to increase over the coming few years in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Photo:Getty.

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With large scale construction projects in Qatar and Saudi on the way, the demand and costs for skilled labour may reach pre-recession levels says construction industry consultancy EC Harris.

Paul Needler, partner at EC Harris Qatar, told Construction Week: “The volume and scale of construction projects expected to come online in Qatar over the next few years could significantly increase in the demand for skilled labour.”

“This will require an influx of labour from overseas and is likely to push costs back up to levels similar to those seen in 2007.”

The use of local skilled labour will also be a challenge due to Qatar’s small local population. However, Needler has not ruled out the use of local labour in the near future with the correct knowledge transfer: “As Qatar strives to create knowledge based economy the challenge facing the country is to ensure there is sufficient knowledge transfer across the different levels of the economy to reduce its reliance on expat-labour and expertise, and not just at the most senior level.”

Saudi Arabia recently announced plans to step up the Saudisation of private company workforces to reduce unemployment rates in the country. Companies will be classified in accordance with their intake of Saudi nationals. Green is the highest score, yellow will be for companies who are yet to reach target and red is for companies who are yet to hire any nationals.

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