CW’s 2017 Power 100 reflects the Middle East’s fluid job market

The Middle East’s construction community has had an interesting year, as evidenced by the number of fresh faces within Construction Week’s 2017 Power 100

COMMENT, Business, Construction, Construction jobs, CW’s 2017 Power 100, Job market, Oil prices

With oil prices floundering at approximately $44 per barrel, it’s been yet another tough year for the Middle East’s construction sector. Reduced national revenues have resulted in further revisions to spending plans, which in turn have led to more pared-back projects, expanded timelines and, in some cases, indefinite postponements.

Against this backdrop, it’s not altogether surprising that the make-up of the region’s construction community has changed considerably during the past 12 months – not only in terms of rank-and-file employees, but also at the highest levels of management. For evidence of this trend, you need look no further than Construction Week’s 2017 Power 100, almost a third of which is comprised by new entries.

This year’s issue contains 31 fresh faces, nine more than 2016’s edition. At first glance, this may not seem especially unusual. After all, the performance of companies tends to ebb and flow in line with market fluctuations, and this is certainly a fluctuating market. Power, as the old saying goes, is fleeting.

And while companies do not represent the Power 100’s primary focus (this is a ranking of the Middle East construction sector’s most influential individuals, not corporations), it’s fair to say that – in previous years – there has been considerable overlap between a person’s perceived influence and the performance of the company he or she represents. In short, when it comes to the Power 100, it has typically been the case that fresh faces come with fresh firms.

With this in mind, it’s interesting to note that just under half of new entries on this year’s list – 15 people, to be precise – are in charge of companies that were also represented on the 2016 Power 100. In some instances, the previous representatives have moved on to pastures new; in others, they have assumed different roles within their respective organisations.

For such a sizeable portion of new entries to be leading established firms is indicative of a transient job market. On a more positive note, this trend not only suggests there is significant untapped leadership potential in the Middle East, but it also demonstrates that opportunities to climb the corporate ladder are in plentiful supply.

More importantly, it makes for a particularly interesting edition of Construction Week. Even discounting new entries, one member of the 2017 cohort has climbed 71 places since last year – a Power 100 record.

As I intend to keep this a spoiler-free zone, you’ll have to read on to find out who’s risen, who’s fallen, and who’s infiltrated the rankings. All that’s left to say is a hearty well done to everyone who made the cut. Challenging though today’s market may be, you’re all driving positive change within our industry. 

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