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Insights Why is KSA a 'top performing' market in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extraordinary impact on people, businesses, and markets all over the world. Within the construction industry, it has led to delays, rising costs, disruption in supply chains, and a shortage of skilled labour. During 2020, Gulf State nations saw a steeper decline in their economies than the global average, with Saudi Arabia seeing a drop of 4.1% in GDP. This was largely caused by lockdowns and reduced output leading to falling oil revenues.

However, across the Middle East, there is a shift towards establishing a more sustainable future with a target to diversify the economy and Saudi Arabia (KSA) has been termed a 'top performing market' during the COVID recovery period. So, what is causing this progress in the construction industry following such a difficult time?

image of Saudi Arabia at night

Saudi Vision 2030

Saudi Arabia has a rich cultural heritage yet with funding from the government, it is going through ‘a historic transformation with Saudi Vision 2030 that aims to foster a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation’. This vision for growth has led to major social, environmental, and economic transitions across the region as it seeks to achieve specific goals.

Saudi Vision 2030 is creating rapid growth in the built environment and is enabling an enhancement of opportunities for pioneering professionals in the construction industry. Increasingly, quantity surveyors and architects are being drawn in by large-scale, multipurpose construction projects as they offer the prospect of implementing new and exciting innovations and technologies, particularly to enable sustainable development of the future.

Mega projects

The increase in the development of unique, complex, and large-scale construction schemes, namely ‘giga-projects’, have been brought upon with the aim of boosting the economy. An example of this includes Six Flags Qiddiya theme park, for which the lead design consultant services contract was awarded to AtkinsRéalis . Under Saudi Vision 2030, Qiddiya’s purpose is both social and economic; to advance economic divergence and release new professional pathways while enriching the lives of young people.

The transport sector will also be experiencing exponential growth in KSA as the country recovers from the pandemic. His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud revealed in July 2021 that $147 billion (550 billion riyals) will be injected into the transport and logistics sectors over the next ten years. If the investment strategy targets are achieved, it is predicted that these sectors will contribute 10% of the country’s GDP by 2030, a 4% increase from current quotas. Government investment like this is presenting exciting opportunities for construction professionals who are seeking to use their passion for sustainability to deliver efficient outcomes for the country.

A more sustainable future for KSA

With the impacts of climate change threatening destruction around the world, countries need to factor in sustainability at every level of development to prevent further damage. We have seen a rise in dangerous events such as flooding, droughts and unpredictable weather patterns. Saudi Arabia’s investment plans mean that the country cannot afford to progress with their expansion plans without factoring in sustainability.

As a potential resolution to this, Saudi officials launched the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) which aims to ‘increase the Kingdom's share of renewable energy production, achieve a balance in the mix of local energy sources, and fulfil the Kingdom's obligations towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions'. This initiative will seek to differentiate the national energy mix used in electricity production, increasing the share of natural gas and renewable energy sources by approximately half prior to 2030, while reducing the traditional use of liquid fuel. This is certainly a very positive step in the right direction.

Build your career in KSA at AtkinsRéalis

Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, is building on fifty-active years in the Middle East by strengthening its presence and design and engineering services in Saudi Arabia. In order to help deliver our quality services during this crucial period of growth in KSA, we’re looking to expand our teams of bright and innovative professionals.

If you’re looking for a career in project management, architecture, engineering, or quantity surveying in Saudi Arabia, we may have an opportunity for you.

Browse our available project management roles in Saudi Arabia today, an exciting and prosperous career is waiting for you.