Saudi Arabia jobs: industrial sector to dominate hiring in 2023

Mid-to-senior level Saudi and expatriate professionals are being offered 20% to 30% salary increases, Hays says in new report

Mega-projects in Saudi Arabia, such as The Line in Neom, are expected to drive demand for talent in the kingdom's industrial sector. Photo: Neom
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Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector is expected to dominate the employment market in 2023, driven by the creation of new jobs through mega-projects such as Neom and a rise in the number of organisations setting up operations in the kingdom, according to a new report by recruitment specialist Hays.

Hiring activity is highest in manufacturing and logistics, while mid-to-senior level Saudi and expatriate professionals willing to switch jobs are being offered salary increases of between 20 per cent and 30 per cent, Hays said in its Middle East Inside Story Report on Monday.

“The prioritisation of Saudisation means organisations continue to seek and secure the best local talent,” said Mark Paul, team manager at Hays Middle East.

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“At present, some highly technical roles still require expertise from outside of the kingdom, so expats are targeted to support the upskilling and development of local workforces.

“These factors, combined with the more level playing-field in remuneration and benefits across the GCC region, have resulted in steadily increasing salaries. At present, organisations in the industrial sector are inclined to offer an increase of 20 per cent to 30 per cent on existing salaries.”

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, recorded a 14 per cent increase in new jobs in the three months to September 30, recruitment consultancy Cooper Fitch said in October.

Over the past four years, Saudi Arabia has created tens of thousands of new jobs as part of its plan to develop $1 trillion worth of new projects to meet its Vision 2030 plan of diversifying the economy away from hydrocarbons, according to the General Authority for Statistics.

These include Neom, a $500 billion futuristic city that features a nature reserve, coral reefs and heritage sites in the Red Sea, and Qiddiya, a huge entertainment and sports project. Red Sea Global is also building a mega-tourism project on Saudi Arabia’s west coast.

Watch: Saudi Arabia's Neom reimagines Manhattan as a vertical city

“As the National Industrial Development and Logistics Programme (NIDLP) continues to drive the quota of Saudisation for specific roles and professions, demand for Saudi national talent at the mid-to-senior level is increasing even further,” Hays said in the report.

However, with the increase in government mega projects, talent from around the world is also required to get projects off the ground, it said.

Meanwhile, jobseekers in Saudi Arabia are also looking for more challenging and interesting roles with a greater sense of purpose, Hays said.

“The giga-projects are attractive to experts eager to work on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of a project that has never been done before,” it said.

“However, SMEs can offer more autonomy, responsibility and greater exposure, giving a candidate confidence that they can make a difference and get recognition for it.”

Professionals are also focused on personal development as a vital part of their career journey, particularly young people who are eager to upskill, increase industry knowledge and obtain new qualifications and certifications.

“The NIDLP's aim of unlocking the potential held within the kingdom, opening the gates to a global logistics hub and industrial powerhouse, needs local expertise for long-term sustainability,” said Aaron Fletcher, Hays’ senior business manager and Saudi Arabia recruitment team lead.

“Organisations need to consider that the key to retaining the best rising talent across a wide and competitive landscape is by continually investing in their development — and giving professionals the opportunity to flourish.”

Updated: December 12, 2022, 12:15 PM