Expat job seekers may shy away from Gulf: recruiter

Mon Feb 7, 2011 10:35am EST
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DUBAI (Reuters Life!) - Political unrest in Egypt and Tunisia may discourage Western job seekers from moving to the Gulf region as Arab governments focus more on youth unemployment, a recruitment agency report showed.

Upheaval in Egypt and how the recent mass protests were displayed in the media across the world "may deter some Western professionals from relocating to the Gulf," online recruiter GulfTalent said in a report.

The report is based on a survey of 32,000 professionals and 1,400 companies from the six Gulf Arab countries. A large population of expatriates from Asia and Western countries such as Britain, live and work in the Gulf.

An uprising in Egypt which started two weeks ago has paralyzed the country, as protesters demand an end to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-old presidency.

Events in Tunisia have also drawn attention to rising food prices and the challenges of youth unemployment, according to the report.

"Employers in the Gulf are likely to face tougher workforce nationalization targets in 2011, as governments accelerate existing efforts to create jobs for their nationals," GulfTalent said in the report.

Gulf states have 'nationalization' schemes aimed at pushing their workers into the private sector which involve quotas as well as tax incentives for private companies to hire locals.

However, Arab professionals from regional hotspots may flock to the more stable Gulf Arab countries for jobs, it added.