Expert: Oil price to drive Saudi jobs in 2017

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Oil prices will continue to drive Saudi's job market this year, an expert said. [Representational image]

Oil prices will continue to drive Saudi’s job market this year, an expert said. [Representational image]

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Saudi Arabia’s employment market will continue to be impacted by oil prices in 2017, an expert told ConstructionWeekOnline.

While landmark projects such as the Riyadh Metro’s development are underway in the kingdom, slow economic growth may have a knock-on effect on the kingdom’s construction sector. 

The kingdom’s government also recently awarded contracts in line with its ambition to privatise the country’s aviation development pipeline.

Remarking on the impact of these developments on Saudi’s employment sector, Barry Prost, director at recruitment advisory Propel Consult, said: “Across the GCC, we have seen the first half of this year to have been positive in terms of job creation compared to 2016.

“In Saudi, the employment market this year will continue to be driven by the oil price.

“Some good news last month was that the Ministry of Finance reported a lower-than-expected budget deficit for Q1 2017, as revenues were higher than expected.

“However, economic growth will be significantly held back in 2017, as oil production is curbed in line with OPEC’s [Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] latest deal,” Prost added.

On 25 May, Arabian Business reported, citing Bloomberg, that OPEC has extended oil production cuts through to March 2018 after last year’s landmark agreement “failed to eliminate the global oversupply or achieve a sustained price recovery”.

Days before OPEC’s announcement, McDermott International signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Aramco to expand and develop its human capital within the kingdom.

The agreement, which is expected to create up to 2,000 jobs during the coming years, was signed as part of Saudi Aramco’s In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) programme.

Prost’s views on the Saudi Arabian and Bahraini construction job markets will be published in Construction Week #660 (17 June, 2017).