Speak to any employer operating within the GCC’s construction sector and they will have a story about the various challenges their business has faced trying to recruit and manage a project’s workforce. It is commonplace to hear employers complain about facing higher recruitment fees, rising payroll commitments, irregularities in employment contracts, acute skills shortages and ongoing procedural delays.
As one of the world’s largest construction markets – with about 20 million labour workers and thousands more white-collar professionals located within the GCC – clearly all of these issues need to be addressed in a systematic fashion. Given the importance of the sector to the region’s economy, it should in truth be leading the world in terms of how the workforce that underpins it is recruited, managed, trained and treated.
For this reason, it was encouraging to hear that the Federation of GCC Chambers has recently formed a team of senior officials tasked with exploring the development of a regional policy for hiring workers. The team will explore ways a regional policy – or a unified contract – could be introduced to help handle the flow of foreign workers within the GCC.
As you might expect from an organisation such as the Chambers of Commerce, the key motivation behind such a review appears to be driven by the need for a recruitment system that minimises issues confronting business. The ultimate ambition is to save time and money through a more efficient process.