Considering the forthcoming supply of hotel rooms, it is estimated that the GCC would require over 90,000 skilled hospitality professionals by 2026 out of which about 82,000 would be required in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, said an industry expert.
Article continues below
“Estimates are based on the assumption that supply would generally be 3-star and above, considering the general industry trend in the region,” added Mansoor Ahmed, Executive Director & Head of Development Solutions, Healthcare, Education & PPP: Middle East & Africa (MEA) Region at professional services firm Colliers.
Ahmed was commenting on Colliers’ report on Hospitality Education in the GCC, which estimates that a total of 0.7 million individuals are employed within the hotels sector in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“Furthermore, if the planned mega projects in the holy cities are taken into account, Colliers estimates that these projects would require approximately 50,000 further skilled/trained hospitality professionals by 2030. Furthermore, there are several leisure projects also planned in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Currently, a significant proportion of staff serving within tourism and hospitality in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are expatriates, with less representation of local professionals especially in technical roles. This creates an opportunity, or rather a necessity, to cultivate local talent and skilled & trained hospitality professionals, in order to meet the snowballing demand for manpower.
Saudi Arabia, as part of a Saudization drive has mandated that at least 30% of the staff employed has to be Saudi. Furthermore, all front desk/managerial roles have to be assigned to Saudi nationals only, however, technical roles are still fulfilled by expatriates.
Key source markets for recruiting staff include Philippines, Egypt, South Asian Sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Nepal). In the UAE, Sri Lankans and Africans also have noticeable presence amongst the workforce within the sector. ■