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Why Civil Engineering is Growing in the Middle East

  • by: Steve Grisdale
  • On: 5, Jan 2023
5 min read

The construction sector has been going from strength to strength in the Middle East, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Of course, it’s not just the buildings themselves, it’s also the energy supply, infrastructure, and transport that is making the Middle East a power house when it comes to civil engineering. But civil engineering is growing all over the world.

It’s predicted that the value of the global civil engineering market will reach $12.5 trillion by 2025. This is driven by innovations in technology, and trends like increased sustainability, which is only becoming more important to consumers, businesses, and governments around the world. The tools, techniques, and materials used in civil engineering generate pollution, so new methods of building are being developed all the time in order to better protect the planet while still allowing for new builds.

Civil engineering is being further boosted by government providing incentives for new projects, or in underdeveloped areas that require further infrastructure or urbanisation, especially in developing economies.

Given that the Middle East is one of the most competitive parts of the world when it comes to industry, it’s likely that we’ll see increased innovation as the years go on, making it the perfect place for civil engineers looking to develop their career.

How civil engineering is growing in the Middle East

Sustainability is becoming more important

The International Energy Agency has found that 36% of all energy demand worldwide comes from the construction sector. It’s therefore imperative that the industry change its methods, and adopt a more sustainable approach in any way it can to lower its energy usage.

 The Middle East is championing this, seeking to diversify their energy use across more sustainable sources. Saudi Arabia launched a $28 billion renewable energy funding initiative to become less dependent on oil. The government offers loans for clean energy projects, and supports manufacturers of components used in renewable energy generation.

These loans go as high as 1.2 billion riyals, even for companies that are foreign-owned, showing the commitment behind the initiative is real.

Engineers looking to work in the Middle East will need experience with renewables, and may find exciting new projects in the sector in the coming years thanks to this type of government support.

Technology use is increasing

The use of drones, robots, and VR in engineering will increase rapidly over the next decade.

 This will improve safety for workers on-site, as dangerous jobs will be handled by machines. Productivity will also increase, as these machines can operate faster than humans, allowing for engineers to focus their attention and energy on other areas.

 In the Middle East specifically, spending on technology and innovation within engineering reached more than $100 billion in 2021, and is predicted to keep growing.

We’ve already seen huge advancements in VR in architecture and civil engineering through the use of digital twin technology, and will only see more as the technology becomes more powerful, more versatile, and cheaper.

Engineers who aren’t skilled in this area will need to consider upskilling, as these kinds of technology are expected by many industry experts to become the industry standard within years, and in some businesses are already.

Supply chains will be made more resilient

 During Covid, supply chains in every industry around the world felt the strain almost immediately as world trade slowed to a halt. In civil engineering this was especially damaging, as it stalled vital infrastructure and building projects. The industry was quick to realise how disastrous it would be if anything like the pandemic were to happen again, and responded by creating more flexible, durable, and resilient supply chains.

 Visibility is a huge factor in supply chain resilience. Digitalisation makes this easier, through the use of cloud technology, artificial intelligence, analytics, and global positioning systems.

For example, industry-specialised cloud solutions can improve efficiency by providing visibility into sourcing, production, and planning processes. From here, artificial intelligence and machine learning can help to automate decisions, and flag future volatility that may arise from developing situations or business challenges. Technologies like this can help companies anticipate, prepare for, and even avoid problems before they arise.

These technologies working together can provide oversight over all areas of a business, and when data is shared with partners, suppliers, and customers, the entire supply chain benefits.

The Middle East has always been quick to adopt new technology, and is leading the way for the rest of the world when it comes to applying it to the supply chain issue.

Increased civil engineering career opportunities in the Middle East

Big engineering projects require big workforces. The Middle East is famous for its megaprojects: marvels of architecture and cutting edge design, resulting in some of the most beautiful buildings of the modern world. As engineering in the Middle East increases, the need for an expanded workforce will also increase, meaning more job opportunities for civil engineers.

 When you think of the amazing architecture and breath-taking buildings of the UAE, everything was designed and built by civil engineers. Because of this, civil engineers in the Middle East are well-paid and respected, with good job security and prospects for career progression.

It’s clear that civil engineering will continue to grow in the Middle East, making it a fantastic place for young engineers looking to gain experience, or more established engineers looking for their next challenge.

Read more about new technologies in civil engineering and infrastructure, or learn about the five best engineering roles you can do remotely.

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