JOB SEARCH / AUG. 21, 2014
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Gulf Countries to Witness Improvement in Job Market

According to a recent report published by the Middle East news portal Zawya, this year will bring positive changes in the recruitment market and also see an increase in salaries in the Middle East. Private-sector salaries are likely to rise at a faster pace in 2014 in contrast to the pay hikes in 2013. This trend will be observed across a majority of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with Oman taking the lead with a pay rise of 8%. In terms of job creation, more organizations are likely to appoint staff this year, with Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia topping the list.

A Retrospective Analysis of the Job Scene in 2013

The report depicting the employment and salary trends in the Gulf is based on an online survey of 34,000 professionals, 800 employers. It has also been derived on the basis of 60 interviews conducted with HR professionals and executives.

The job opportunities and salaries in the Middle East are set to increase at a faster rate in 2014. The report released on 17 March 2014 states that the current year will be more optimistic with more rise in remuneration, creation of new jobs and faster employment growth. In 2013, Saudi Arabia topped the list of countries creating maximum employment with 62% organizations raising their headcount over the year. The country was followed by the UAE and then Kuwait.

In terms of sectors, the healthcare sector saw the maximum companies (nearly 80%) creating employment opportunities in 2013. The reason for high creation of jobs was the heavy government investment and a larger number of nations making health insurance compulsory for their employers. The retail and telecom sectors closely competed for the second position.

Expected Growth in Employment

The survey also highlighted more companies across the GCC are likely to increase their headcount this year in comparison to the previous year. About 75% of the organizations in Qatar will generate jobs in 2014. The positive changes are being attributed to the introduction of major infrastructure projects, which are also being set up as part of the preparation for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Following Qatar’s track record are Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Companies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are seeking to create new work opportunities to the tune of 63% and 57%, respectively. With the political situation stabilizing further, companies in Bahrain too are showing signs of rise in job creation with nearly 30% of companies expected to boost their headcount, in comparison to merely 9% last year.

In 2014, the retail and hospitality sectors will dominate job growth. Almost 61% of companies operating in hospitality are planning to raise their headcount in anticipation of a year full of growth for this industry. The retail sector will see about 57% of the total organizations creating jobs that will be majorly driven by the Gulf region’s fast growth in population and arrival of retail outlets in the remote locations.

Rise in Salary Packages

A major part of the GCC region will witness private sector salaries growing at a faster rate in 2014, in contrast to the previous year. The maximum pay hike will be experienced by Oman, where the employees are likely to receive an average pay hike of 8%.

Saudi Arabia stands at the second position with the second highest rate of expected rise in salary at 6.8 %, closely followed by Qatar at an average 6.7% and then UAE at average 5.9% rise.

At the lower end, Bahrain and Kuwait are expected to offer the least rise in pay in 2014. They projected salary increase in these areas will only be 3.9% in Bahrain and 5.8% in Kuwait. Even though the rise in salaries is higher than last year, they still remain below the benchmarks set before the crisis.

Most Popular GCC Countries

The report also mentions the strong foothold of UAE in the GCC region. The Emirates has come across as the prime destination for expats to work in the GCC. The economic recovery of Dubai and the city’s successful bid for conducting the 2020 Expo has brought optimism and is contributing to the entire country’s brighter future. According to The Wall Street Journal, the 2020 Expo alone is expected to generate 277,000 jobs, which is a big count given it accounts for almost 20% of the overall workforce of 1.3 million. A Middle East Economic Digest report says these many jobs will be generated between 2013 and 2031 and most of them will be in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Sectors like real estate and construction are also likely to benefit from international events like these, leading to a potential boom in the job market.

Even though other parts of the region continue to be dogged by tensions, the expat population is going to value the stability portrayed by the UAE. On one hand, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have come across as the GCC’s most attractive cities, followed by Doha, the capital city of Qatar. On the other hand, Bahrain has come across as the least attractive destinations for expats.

UAE Firms to Appoint Staff in the Next three Months

About 65% of the total companies in the UAE are planning to appoint up to 10 staff members over the following three months. According to a survey by international internet-based market research firm You Gov, with private sector companies ready to begin hiring in the region amajority of the new positions are being aimed at junior executives.

The research reveals that majority of these employers are accountants, receptionists and human resource professionals. Also, candidates who hold commerce qualifications will be in high demand, while those with business management degrees will be in demand across the entire MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

The results of the survey showed that nearly 43% of the companies recruited new candidates over the past three months while about 66% hired new employees in the last six months. It also reflected that UAE features high in the list of GCC countries providing attractive job opportunities with 71% of its residents seeking local employment prospects.

Working in one of the gulf countries, especially UAE is going to be highly fruitful as the area is going to observe positive employment trends in the coming months whereby a large number of companies will open up job opportunities and boost remuneration across the entire region. 

 

Image source: http://expo2020dubai.ae/

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