Education Industry Update – Q1 2015

Education Industry Update – Q1 2015

The education sector is an industry that is being heavily invested in by regional governments. This has been highlighted by the continued support on Saudi Arabia’s recent budget report, showing it continues to spend on the education sector, despite the falling oil prices. Although this means they will likely see billion dollars in losses this year, the necessity to spend on education within the region is finally resonating.

In general, the MENA region spends an average of 17.4% of government expenditure toward education, which is higher than the world average of 13.9%. However, despite the heavy investment, results have not been so favourable due to a lack of adequate infrastructure and skilled workers. Exceptions to this case are the UAE and Qatar whom have exhibited good progress in this region.

However according to a report from Al Masah Capital they believe the MENA education sector is “waiting to explode.”

With the region home to 220 Million people, a rising younger population will see enrolment population hovering around 80 Million this year. Adding to the demand for education, the region also has a favourable 1.9% increase in population growth, meaning demand will likely continually increase. This, coupled with the high level of expatriate immigration and the rising affluence and desire for higher quality schools among parents is also resulting in higher household spending on education.

Job demand for western expatriates remains high as their skills are keenly sought after with a growing preference for international, English-language curricula with 53% of parents preferring ‘western-style’ curricula according to a survey conducted by Booz and Co.

Despite literacy and numeracy remaining the building blocks of the educational content, the need for “expert thinking” and “complex communication” has grown in demand; so a rise in demand for specialist teachers within the science and foreign languages sector is a trend we are likely to see in 2015.

Current worth of the education market in the MENA region stands at 128 Billion with it estimated to reach 237 Billion by 2020.teacher, students, class, education


With a high number of expatriates living in the UAE, the private education sector remains the main point of concern and interest heading into 2015.

With 88% of pupils attending private schools in Dubai improvements have been made over previous years to increase quality of education with a total of 51% of pupils being in “good or outstanding” schools (reported in The Road Travelled report) compared to this number only being at 30% five years ago.

There has been a steady improvement reported on student achievement levels also, as reported in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Price of education still remains an issue in the UAE with most parents spending about 11-15% of their income on their children’s education. The demand for skilled workers remains high, right through to tertiary level.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has not seen much progression in 2014 however, with the building of up to 28 new universities over the next decade, there lies a huge market potential for tertiary education professors and teachers from the western world.

Additionally, the country is predicted to see 10,000 new generation schools built over the next decade, indicating Saudi’s strong intentions on investing in their education sector a lot more.


Education and Public Administration is the set to be one of the few sectors down under with an increase in hiring probability.

With a reported improvement in hiring prospects by seven percentage points, net employment outlook of +11% it is the strongest the sector has seen since Q1 2012.

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