Open and close mobile menu


Insights Women at work in the Middle East

The Middle East is undergoing huge, positive change. With ambitious programmes such as Saudi Vision 2030, we are set to see a huge shift in the approach to diversity, inclusivity and sustainability in the area. This approach will make the Middle East a leader in many industries, attracting professionals from across the globe and promoting Middle Eastern countries as great places to live and work.

In this article, we explore how the Middle East is changing, how women are driving positive change in the area and the opportunities available.

How is the Middle East changing?

2016 was a pivotal year in the future of the Middle East region. The 2015 launch of the Saudi Vision 2030 outlined ambitious changes that are considered necessary to eradicate the area's dependence on the oil industry. This is seen as important due to the shift towards renewable energy sources and the increasing costs of oil extraction.

The successful execution of this vision will require ambitious, intelligent and forward-thinking women to join the workforce. This is partially due to a growing awareness of the importance of diversity and equality, but also due to concerns that typical household income is likely to reduce significantly as the shift away from oil happens.

This is a move away from the traditional and widely accepted values of the Middle East. For example, in Saudi Arabia, women made up just 20.5% of the workforce in 2019. However, there is already a considerable success in this space. In fact, the same report highlighted that the percentage grew to 33.6% by just the first quarter of 2022.

Women are driving positive change in the Middle East 

It should come as no surprise that a growing female workforce is and will continue to have a positive impact in the Middle East. Here at AtkinsRéalis , we are seeing this through the fantastic work that our female team members are conducting in the area. In fact, we have many valued female team members in every part of our Middle Eastern business including engineering, architecture and project management.

For example, Deema is a project manager for Faithful + Gould, located in Saudi Arabia. Her passion for architecture and design makes her a huge asset to the company. In her role, she has had the opportunity to make a positive contribution to exciting projects such as Al Balad, which is located in the Historic District of Jeddah (a world heritage site).

Opportunities for women in the Middle East

One of the most exciting parts of women moving into the workforce in the Middle East is the huge opportunities and world-leading projects that they will have the chance to work on in the coming years. Many of these projects have been announced through Saudi Vision 2030.

For example, the Red Sea Project is seeing a huge investment in developing a currently undeveloped area between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh, along the western coast of Saudi Arabia. There are many opportunities to work on projects in this area such as airports, tourism centres and large-scale waste management plants.

Other key projects from Saudi Vision 2030 include an area dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation and a large-scale project to improve the quality of life of Saudi residents (ROSHN).

Why equality, diversity and inclusion matter to us

It is clear that there are growing opportunities for women to start and progress a fulfilling and lucrative career in the Middle East. In fact, with multiple investments and projects in the pipeline, now could be the best time ever for women to get involved in the Middle East construction industry.

Here at AtkinsRéalis , we have some fantastic opportunities for women that want to build their careers in the area. Our approach to work fits seamlessly with the new Middle Eastern commitment to innovation, diversity and sustainability.

You can find out more about our current vacancies in the Middle East here. Alternatively, you can join our talent community or sign up for job alerts to get all the latest direct to your inbox.