Saudi Arabia market update
June 2019

Economic activity indisputably and significantly on the increase in Saudi Arabia

The past 12 months have been incredibly busy for business in Saudi Arabia with substantial changes to market dynamics, including a number of landmark occasions. Most noticeable perhaps was the lift on the driving ban for women that drew the attention of the worlds media and which marks a significant shift in the overall modernisation of Saudi’s society and economy. In line with this shift, were several debut events within the entertainments space; from the first cinema screens being opened by VOX cinemas (after a 35 year absence), to a first wrestling event hosted by the WWE, as well as Cirque Du Soleil performing its first show in Riyadh. These are just a few examples of events that were unforeseen only a short time ago, and the landscape looks set to continue expanding over the course of this coming year.

In demand

Of course, economic growth (outside of the Oil & Gas sector) - supported by Vision 2030, remains a main focus within Saudi. As evident from the record Government budget of $295 billion pledged for 2019, along with associated investment in 5,000+ projects – said to be worth trillions of Saudi riyal’s in the long term and which make it an incredibly exciting prospect for future business opportunities.

Aside from Government investment, the ease of doing business for foreign investors in Saudi is improving. Recent statistics quoted by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) whereby the number of licences granted to foreign businesses increased 70% year-on-year in Q1 2019, are fuelling economic growth within the private sector.

Within the employment market, such incentives are having a positive impact on the number of roles being made available. We are seeing a marked increase in the demand for Saudi Nationals at all levels of seniority, with a large number of multi-national organisations looking to strengthen their numbers beyond those mandated by the government. In addition to HR and Administration positions, we have noticed increased demand for Saudi Nationals across Finance, IT, Sales and Communications sectors. Some of the most common positions we have recruited for to date include the following job categories and roles:

 

  • C Suite / Executive: Chief Executive Officer, Chief Finance Officer, President
  • Human Resources: Human Resources Director, Head of Career Development, Talent Director, Human Resources Manager
  • Accounting & Finance: Head of Corporate Finance & Planning, Tax Expert, Business Analyst
  • Sales & Marketing: Business Development Manager, Technical Sales Manager
  • Corporate Services: Legal Counsel, Office Manager, Executive Assistant

 

For expats, the busiest areas in terms of roles available are within the more technical industries, where there exists the greatest skills shortages within national workforces.

Looking ahead

Economic activity is indisputably and significantly on the increase in Saudi Arabia and we are excited to witness the vast number of business opportunities that are opening up across all sectors.

Construction phases of those major giga-projects spearheaded by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – namely The Red Sea Project, NEOM and Qiddiya Entertainments City are imminent, set to start as early as this month and most obviously, these are to open up tens of thousands of job opportunities in the Construction and Property sector.

Aside from this, we are aware of increasing opportunities for Project Managers, IT and Finance professionals in Saudi Arabia. We anticipate a drive for Project Managers within the Educational and Charity sectors, in organisations being setup to support youth involvement and engagement in the future innovation of the country’s economy. Within IT, professionals with specialist skills related to smart city infrastructure and implementation are to be high in demand (supporting the multiple mega projects taking place across the Kingdom), as well as support system specialists and ecommerce implementation professionals – a growing phenomenon for organisations the world over. Finally, with regards to Finance, we expect an increasing number of roles made available to Senior Finance professionals within Hospitality and Property sectors, where businesses who were new to region last year are now establishing their back office teams.

This is an incredibly exciting time for the Saudi economy thanks to the establishment of Vision 2030 and the Government’s unwavering commitment to be a leading nation in the modern world.

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