Gulf employers finding it more difficult to attract Indian talent

Employers across the region are finding it increasingly challenging to attract workers from India, a new survey has found.

A survey by the online jobs site Gulf Talent found that prospective staff from India looking for work across the GCC were increasingly reluctant to leave home because of the fast-growing Indian economy.

For decades Middle Eastern construction industries have relied on expatriate Indian workers and professionals to help build the skyscrapers, shopping malls and hotels that dominate the skylines of Dubai, Doha and Riyadh.


And many other key Middle Eastern industries from health care to education, media and marketing to travel and logistics are also heavily reliant on Indian staff.

But now a boom at home driven by the economic reforms of the prime minister Narendra Modi, is encouraging many would-be Indian emigrants to stay in India – forcing employers throughout the Gulf to look farther afield to fill positions.

According to the IMF, India is expected to be the world’s fastest-growing major economy in 2015, surpassing China’s growth rate for the first time since 1999.

The Gulf Talent survey of 600 employers and 22,000 jobseekers as well as 60 interviews with executives and HR professionals, conducted between December 2014 and April 2015 found that more job opportunities and higher salaries at home were the key reasons why Indian workers were more reluctant to up sticks and take up jobs in the Middle East.

“It is difficult to attract Indian talent. Nowadays they have ample opportunities back home, with good salaries,” said one general manager of a Saudi-based engineering firm interviewed by Gulf Talent.

Employers said that they were instead hiring more staff from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and the Philippines.

The survey found that overall employment across the GCC was on the increase in 2015, despite the fall in oil prices at the start of the year.

Among GCC countries, Qatar is expected to enjoy the highest rate of job creation in 2015, with 66 per cent of employers in Qatar reporting that they planned to increase headcount.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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