Saudi Arabia – Lots Of Oil, And Lots Of Opportunities!

Saudi Arabia – Lots Of Oil, And Lots Of Opportunities!

Saudi Arabia, the most oil rich country in the world is also a rich country in other areas… jobs!

Despite oil prices remaining low, it is the government of Saudi Arabia’s plan to diversify its portfolio away from the reliance of an oil driven economy that is driving job creation across many of it’s sectors.

Which industries are seeing the largest reward?

Construction in Saudi ArabiaConstruction is seeing a huge boost with the need to develop the countries infrastructure to facilitate such improvements. Hospitals, transport system upgrades, schools, retail shops even cities are in the pipeline to be completed within the next decade.

Here are the top 10 projects planned for Saudi Arabia over the next decade expected to bring hundreds of thousands of jobs during the construction phases and also after it has been completed to industries such as retail, tourism, hospitality, logistics and healthcare: 

  1. King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh
    1. Located off the Red Sea north of Jeddah across 168 million sq m the project is valued at $27 billion. Master developer is Emaar, The Economic City. It includes a port and logistics, financial centre, light industry, and services and will create an estimated one million jobs and two million people will live there.
  2. The Knowledge Economic City in Madinah
    1. This $7 billion project across 4.8million sq m, will create 20,000 new jobs and be home to around 200,000 people. It will include an education-entertainment Islamic theme park, shopping complex, hotels and public transport. The master developer is Quad International
  3. Jazan Economic City
    1. Focusing on Heavy Industry and Agribusiness in the south west of the Kingdom covering 100 million sq m. The $27 billion city will bring 500,000 new jobs and a population of 250,000. Two-thirds of the city will be industrial park and it will also provide a seaport.
  4. King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, Security Forces Medical Complexes
    1. KSA’s largest medical project, and also the largest medical project in the GCC, is the estimated $6.7bn. Two separate medical cities for security forces that are being developed in Riyadh and Jeddah on behalf of the Kingdom’s Interior Ministry.
  5. King Abdullah Medical City, Makkah, KSA
    1. The design phase project will cover an area of 350 hectares and cost an estimated $1.2bn. The capacity of the primary five-story hospital building will be 1,500 beds, of which 500 beds have been allotted for specialist referrals.
  6. King Abdulaziz International Airport , Jeddah
    1. This in the main airport hub for the west of the Kingdom, near Jeddah. The three-stage development began in 2006 with the aim of catering for 30m Muslim pilgrims bound for the Holy Cities. The $1.5 billion Phase 1 in the 400,000 sq m terminal complex, control tower, access roads and utilities. Phase 2 and 3 will take the airport through to 2035 when it will cater for 85m people annually
  7. Saudi Landbridge
    1. The $7bn Red Sea to the Gulf rail line is an integral part of the GCC’s connected rail network. Italferr has been awarded a $37m contract by the Saudi Railways Company (SAR) to design the Landbridge – a 950km line between Riyadh and Jeddah, and a second 115km line between Dammam and Jubail. Transit times for freight between Jeddah and Dammam will be reduced to 18 hours, compared with the current sea voyage of 5-7 days, with capacity for 8m tonnes of freight a year.
  8. Jubail II, Saudi Arabia
    1. A 22-year industrial project that is getting an $80 billion expansion. This project will have the effect of double the population of the area. When completed, it will be composed of 100 industrial plants, 800,000 cubic meter desalination plant, miles and miles of railways, roads and highways, and an oil refinery producing at least 350,000 barrels per day. The entire project is slated to be finished in 2024.
  9. Riyadh Metro
    1. Saudi Arabia’s sprawling and congested capital is in a race against time to complete its SR85 billion ($22.5 billion) metro system within four years. Construction began a year ago taking over the city’s business core, to the frustration of drivers facing detours and lane-closures. With 176km of line and 80 stations this is the biggest project of its type in the world.
  10. The Kingdom Tower, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    1. This will be the world’s tallest building at more than 1km high once complete in 2019. The Kingdom Tower, developed by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company. Estimated cost is $1.23 billion to build on foundations 60 metres deep. (source)

Many other industries are obviously the benefactor of such a large investment from the Saudi government. 

For example, in an article on al-Arabiya, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, Prince Sultan Bin Salman said the tourism sector is expected to create 1.7 million jobs by 2020.

One of the main driving factors for this is the Holy Pilgrimage to the Holy Cities with airport improvements looking to increase capacity to 80million visitors per year once completed, as mentioned above.

Overall, employment in the private sector rose over the past year, according to a report conducted by Fitch.

Also mentioned was the countries strong banking sector, a sector that ranks the highest in the GCC and only one ranking below the “AAA” ranking of the highest rated countries such as Australia, Canada and Singapore.

Thanks to the increase in investment, it is providing opportunities for the rising youth unemployment numbers but also many foreign expats as well.


Competitive Salaries

Another benefit Saudi Arabia provides are competitive salaries in the GCC, actually, the most competitive salaries according to the Gulf Business Salary Survey 2015

The report said, salaries rose 7% year-on-year, with the trend matching the confidence shown in the market since the economic downturn.

This reflects an increase from US $12,126 to $12,978 per month, with those numbers buoyed – unsurprisingly – by the higher paid expat western workforce.

Here are some of the average salaries found in Saudi Arabia as per the Gulf Business Salary Report.


Monthly Salary (USD)
Banking, treasury manager $15,065
Construction, project manager $13,289
Information Technology, manager $12,824
Real Estate, manager $12,111
Healthcare, manager $12,054
Banking, branch manager $11,869
Human Resources, manager $11,530
Media, advertising creative manager $11,420

Is Nationalisation Preventing A Move? 

Nationalisation is a factor that is impacting the frequency at which expats can move to Saudi, apparently the most difficult country to obtain a work visa out of all the GCC nations.

Yes, they are making it easier for the youth of Saudi Arabia to be employed but a skilled expat workforce is still required to fill the void.

Like their current dependency on oil, they are simply looking to diversify its workforce and not be so reliant on it. This does not mean it will completely disregard an integral part of their successful workforce (and economy).

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