5 Minutes with Ali Matar, LinkedIn MENA

There are more than 100,000 construction and civil engineering professionals on LinkedIn in the Middle East today, of which 8,000 are graduates who joined the workforce in the last three years, Matar tells CW

Ali Matar, head of talent solutions, LinkedIn MENA.
Ali Matar, head of talent solutions, LinkedIn MENA.

Construction Week in conversation with Ali Matar, head of talent solutions at LinkedIn MENA about hiring the right construction employees for the GCC and MENA.

Have you noticed the impact of oil price fluctuations on companies’ hiring practices?

Major global trends like the change in oil prices have an impact on large parts of the economy. In the Middle East, contracts for Expo 2020 in Dubai allow for businesses to be optimistic with regards to hiring and employment. On LinkedIn, overall we see continued growth in hiring. This brings into focus the need for strong employer branding among organisations in the region, which can have a positive impact on them building a talent pipeline.

Do you find employers in Saudi Arabia struggling to hire expats due to the country’s Nitaqat targets?

Data from our study on talent migration suggests that Saudi Arabia continues to remain a preferred workplace for professionals from around the world. The Kingdom ranks third in the global study on countries attracting the most talent, after UAE and Switzerland. 

Out of the various construction sectors, such as engineering, architecture, development, and so on – which sector is hiring most actively this year?

According to a recent LinkedIn study, architecture and engineering was one of the top industry sectors that attracted the most talent. The other sectors included financial services and insurance, technology and Retail and consumer products. The MENA region continues to experience high growth and investment in different sectors. It’s definitely a fast growing market for LinkedIn where we have seen rapid growth from five million members to 16 million members in the region and hence we see more and more companies turning to LinkedIn to find the best talent they need to support that growth.

How do you expect GCC construction HR to shape up over the next five years, based on the data available to you at LinkedIn?

Along with other areas of the economy, we see growth in the construction industry on LinkedIn. There are more than 100,000 construction and civil engineering professionals on LinkedIn in the Middle East today. Of these, more than 8,000 are graduates who joined the workforce in the last three years. The UAE has the highest number of these professionals in the region followed by Saudi Arabia. Qatar hiring indicates that it is a region that is gaining relatively higher numbers of talent in comparison to other GCC countries.

Are construction professionals, and the industry, in the region adequately tech-savvy? 

There are always early adopters when it comes to new technology, but now we're seeing professionals from all sectors actively using LinkedIn, both from the point of view of more individuals establishing their professional identities, and with more organisations using LinkedIn to find the best talent, connect with their target audiences, and discover new clients. Some of our key regional customers in this space include CCC (Consolidated Contractors Company) and KEO International Consultants. 

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