Capturing Employment Opportunities for Pakistanis in the Gulf


Pakistan has enjoyed windfall success in the Gulf countries employment market for decades. It has become reliant on overseas labour to meet key foreign exchange earnings and unemployment challenges. However, in the new economic landscape, the major opportunities span beyond traditional sectors such as construction and oil, and necessitate that Pakistani talent build relevance in the new service sectors which will take Gulf economies beyond oil.
This creates an opportunity for well-organized public & private sector entities like PSDF, TEVTA, PVTC and others to play their part in developing new avenues for employment of Pakistanis by taking an employer focused value chain approach. In essence, this approach entails understanding and meeting employer’s recruitment needs, which span beyond just the need for a training certificate. This is often counter-intuitive for individuals who have spent years in the TVET space building such training & certification programs – ultimately this is not what employers are looking for, and there is a need to go well beyond this into the various elements outlined in the report, of which four in particular are especially important for employers.
The objective of PSDF is to share the results of this study so that the TVET sector can craft a bold ambition to undertake this employer recruitment development journey for tens of thousands of recruits in a few years from now. This is a daunting challenge, but such a journey must begin with a clear understanding of where the largest opportunities exist and what employers are seeking. Armed with the right resources and support, TVET sector can get there and could leave behind a legacy which could change the face of Pakistani talent in the Gulf countries for the years to come.


Facts about Pakistan:

  • 64% of Pakistan’s population is below 30 years of age – UNDP
  • At least 25% of the youth is engaged in unstable, low-paid employment –  UNDP
  • Only 1.3% of those entering the job market each year have vocational training – UNDP
  • 250,000 more Pakistanis reach working age each month – World bank
  • 22.6 million is the number of out of school children in Pakistan – one of the highest in the world, reinforcing the significance of TVET interventions – UNDP
  • Based on forecasted attrition, between 1.5 to 2.5 million jobs will need to be created annually in Pakistan – UNDP
  • A consistent GDP growth rate of over 7% is required to absorb the young workforce of Pakistan. Pakistan Eco Survey
  • Only 35% employment rate among vocational training students. UNDP
  • A 1% increase in foreign remittances could potentially increase Pakistan’s GDP by 0.25%, implying a 3.5 times income multiplier effect
  • Remittances received by Pakistan account for almost 36% of current account receipts, compared to only 12.2% in India and 1.6% in China


Facts from Gulf Countries report:

  • More than half of Pakistan’s remittances are dependent upon KSA and UAE
  • ~58% of Pakistanis go to Gulf countries on a General Labor Visa, which suggests they take up unskilled, low-paid jobs
  • Estimates suggest ~60% of drivers in UAE are Pakistani and demand projected to increase
  • Labour demand to increase in Retail, Hospitality & Tourism, Healthcare and Construction in Gulf countries
  • Healthcare spending in Gulf countries expected to increase by ~75% from US$ 40 billion to US$ 71 billion
  • Over 5 million positions to open up in the Hospitality sector in next five years
  • Estimated 4 million positions to be staffed in the Services sector in the next five years
  • 8 million new jobs and roles will need to be filled within the Construction sector in Gulf countries in the next five years
  • Retail sector projections estimate ~0.3 million additional employment in Gulf countries to open up in next five years
  • KSA and UAE alone will need a minimum of 4 million new domestic workers in the next five years, a huge opportunity for Pakistani labor to tap

Capturing Employment Opportunities for Pakistanis in the Gulf