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GCC chem industry should work with govts to expand jobs

December 15/2011

(ICIS) -- The chemical industry in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries could help drive job creation in the region by working closely together with its governments, a top industry official said on Thursday. Given the employment challenge, the need for labour-intensive industries is mounting, even if it entails a partial sacrifice of economic returns from the chemical producers, said Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, general secretary of the GPCA, speaking at the 6th GPCA forum in Dubai.

A large part of the population in the GCC states is under the age of 25 with their percentage of total population ranging from 28% in Qatar to 49% in Saudi Arabia. In the past ten years, the GCC as a whole created 7m job opportunities but only 2m jobs were taken by GCC nationals, according to Al-Sadoun.

The industry's potential for job creation could be realized when GCC governments and regional chemical producers come together to successfully navigate [job creation] challenges, he said.

The extent to which they successfully overcome these challenges will have a direct impact on number of jobs created across the region, not just in the chemical industry but in conversion industries, which will be stimulated by production of new chemical products, Al-Sadoun said.

From the industry perspective, talent management and securing steady talent inflow to the market is key to long-term sustainable growth, he said. Access to diverse and skilled pools of technicians, engineers, managers and support staff is vital for successful industry expansion, according to Al-Sadoun.

The downstream chemicals industry provides greater employment opportunities than commodity chemicals and oil & gas exploration, said Andrew Monro, a partner and global head for petrochemicals at KPMG at the GPCA forum.

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