This study analyses the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region's labour market in an effort to comprehend the dynamics of international migration for foreign workers in the region and project future trends. The main objective of this endeavour is to identify skill gaps and shortages in the labour markets and assess the evolving policy landscape in the region that may provide newer opportunities for Indian migrant workers.
The six GCC countries under the study are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The study entails an overview of each of these countries with respect to demographic trends, economic conditions and skill shortages to determine the present labour migration trends and evaluate future demand. Further, a section on the existing Indian population in the region is included to assess the key sectors of their engagement. Additionally, visa and immigration policy regulations specific to the mobility of foreign workers have also been added to provide an understanding of entry regulations to live and work in these countries.
The main findings derived from the study are as follows:
Bahrain: Bahrain has one of the most diversified economies in the GCC region. Non-oil GDP is anticipated to increase by 4 per cent largely due to stronger manufacturing and full reopening of the economy post pandemic. The finance and banking sector is an important non-oil sector in Bahrain. Other sectors that contribute to the economy include government services, transport and communications, construction works, real estate and business activities, trade, personal service and other service industries. Despite considerable progress in diversification, the government still receives majority of its income from oil.
As per the findings of a 2019 employer survey, there is a major gap in terms of digital skills in the labour market across sectors including finance and banking, military, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, logistics, oil and gas, renewables, ICT, and startups.1 In the post pandemic recovery phase, sectors such as infrastructure, tourism, financial services and logistics have emerged as key focus areas.2 This presents opportunities for skilled workers and professionals in various job roles across these sectors. Further, it is anticipated that there will be demand for more diverse skillsets in the construction sector, as large-scale government infrastructure projects continue to stimulate this sector. The Government of Bahrain has been offering great incentives and supportive environment for fintech & e-commerce, cybersecurity, start-ups and other private investments to attract skilled workforce as well as high-skilled expats that can contribute towards its economic goals.
To read full report click below: