GCC Cutbacks VS. The Gig Economy

Could a drop in oil prices result in better working practices?

The drop in the price of oil may be pushing employers in the GCC to not just cut costs and staff but also to update and improve their working methods and contracts.  

Working practices are changing in the Middle East

The CIPD reports that, in Abu Dhabi, state-run organisations are shedding expatriates in order to protect the jobs of UAE Nationals (goo.gl/bv7rkj). While in the wider UAE, expatriates with long-term employment contracts are being replaced by consultancy projects (goo.gl/iws39aw). And in KSA, the ministry of labour and social development has laid out a national strategy to increase female employment by creating more than 50,000 outsourcing jobs for women (goo.gl/iFGwEv).

The shift to freelance and the Gig Economy

So, the working environment of the GCC is changing.  But these stories need not be doom and gloom. Instead they could be opportunities to fast-tack employers into better working practices.  These cuts may mean that, rather than lots of 8.00 to 18.00 expatriates working at low intensity ‘presenteeism’, GCC organisations may soon be composed of small, competent and high-energy teams of Nationals on permanent contracts, supported by a ‘Gig Economy’ of flexible workers, consultant freelancers and guest workers employed on a project-by-project basis.

What Oakwood thinks

Oakwood’s work in the GCC concentrates on consultancy, qualifications and training Nationals and expatriates in HR and Marketing.  We feel confident that the changes reported above will – with responsible leadership and management – enable the organisations of the GCC to move to more productive, profitable and sustainable models based on team working, excellence, honesty, integrity and on meeting the challenge of change.

But that’s just what we think.  We welcome dialogue with our partners, colleagues, students and other GCC stakeholders. 

What do you think the outcome of these cuts will be? Comment below to share your view.


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