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UAE overtakes Saudi Arabia in opportunities for UK contractors

The UAE currently represents 43% of the jobs available to UK contractors, despite producing just 14%* of the area’s Oil & Gas, reports Procorre, an international professional services consultancy that operates in all business sectors in over 100 countries.

Analysis of 1,591 jobs available to UK Oil & Gas contractors showed that 689 were based in UAE.

According to Procorre, Saudi Arabia represents 27% of the jobs available to UK contractors in the Middle East, but produces almost 40% of the Middle East’s Oil & Gas, substantially more than the UAE.

Qatar is also ahead of the UAE in Oil & Gas production, producing a quarter of the Middle East’s Oil & Gas, yet it only represents 16% of the jobs available to UK Oil & Gas contractors.

Procorre points out that there are many global Oil & Gas companies whose head offices for the region are based in the UAE, such as BP, Shell, and Oil & Gas services giant Petrofac. This means the UAE can offer management and financial roles, as well as purely technical and operational ones.

Lisa Mangan, relationship manager at Procorre, said, “The UAE has been vying for the role of central hub of the Oil & Gas industry in the Middle East for some time, but now it’s over taken Saudi Arabia in terms of jobs available to UK contractors.”

“Businesses set up their head offices in the UAE because they want to attract the best talent to the area, and many contractors are tempted by the more westernised culture that allows them to live in a similar fashion to the way they would at home.”

A fairly common trend is for contractors based in the UAE to spend short periods of time in Saudi Arabia completing projects before returning to the UAE. Saudi Arabia tends to offer fewer financial and managerial roles to head offices and more technical positions. This, of course, limits the overall number of job opportunities for contractors, explains Procorre.

Mangan added, “For many UK contractors Saudi Arabia is a fly in-fly out zone. Contractors can spend a couple of days or weeks working on a project before returning back to their base in the UAE for the weekend.

“Contractors are now increasingly choosing to base themselves in UAE rather than live in compounds in Saudi Arabia.”


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