The gulf economy grew steadily since the 1960s, thanks to its huge oil production capabilities. The gulf has become one of the wealthiest regions in the world, owning to its massive oil reserves. The region has maintained the pace of development with the rest of the world, with ultra-modern cities like Dubai, Doha and Manama coming into existence.
Oil prices started to plummet since the summer of 2014. The OPEC crude oil price averaged $49.49 per barrel in 2015, and fell to $29.90 per barrel by June 2016. With demand for oil declining, inventory started to pile up. The OPEC decided to cut back prices in order to get rid of the inventory. However, this backfired and the OPEC economies suffered severely. What was first thought of as a small phase of low prices continued well into 2016.
In the wake of weakening economies, the most important question for expatriates became whether or not GCC jobs were really worth it?
Should You Seek GCC Jobs?
It is true that the gulf economy has been hit by the plummeting oil prices. This is because oil exports contributed a major share of the region’s GDP. However, economies of countries that are less dependent of oil have still been doing well. Bahrain was one of the first gulf countries that started oil exploration. However, after realising that it cannot completely depend on oil for its growth and development, it started to diversify. Its oil sector contracted in 2015, mainly due to low oil prices. On the other hand, all other sectors expanded, in particular hospitality, social, personal services and construction.
As of 2016, Bahrain has one of the strongest and oldest financial structures in the entire MENA region. It is also home to a highly developed transport and communication system, making it home to some of the biggest multinational firms in the gulf. In 2006, Bahrain introduced Labour Market Reforms and has been continuously addressing issues related to employment of locals and expatriates.
Bahrain is a preferred destination for GCC jobs due to a host of factors. The laws and regulations are highly favourable to expatriates, whether it is taxation or property rights. It also has one of the most liberal laws and culture. Although the gulf as a whole has been hit by sliding oil prices, this can also be seen as an opportunity for the GCC countries to strengthen their economies through the growth and development of other sectors.