After the drag of 2008 recession, employment is picking up in a good number of countries within the GCC. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman will see most new jobs being created this year, with Bahrain looking the most unpromising job market.
According to Toby Simpson, Managing Director, The Gulf Recruitment Group, these three countries will take the limelight when it comes to recruitment activity this year.
“We believe Saudi will lead the GCC in the volume of job creation, but Oman will lead in percentage increase and the UAE will lead in terms of the economic value of job creation,” he told Emirates24|7.
The bigger amounts allocated to public spending in these countries will create more jobs.
“The massive public spending increases committed to by Saudi and Oman will have a significant impact on their job growth, and the resulting infrastructure and services spending will not only develop construction and engineering industries, but also have a positive impact in the near term on financial services, healthcare, utilities and industrials. In the long term, we expect to see resulting benefits to trade, manufacturing and consumer products.
"The UAE is likely to benefit from the biggest growth in private sector employment as its’ regional hub status for professional services, trade and logistics will deliver benefits in the UAE from any regional growth.
"The professional level of jobs created in the UAE is likely to be higher than elsewhere, and the UAE will continue to need to pay less to attract a higher level of professionals,” he said.
As per the statics of Gulf Talent, almost all Gulf countries had higher rates of job creation compared to 2010.
The company’s data shows that Saudi Arabia had the highest rate of job creation thanks to its strong economic growth and high government spending. UAE had a significant rise in job creation, but it was still much lower than most Gulf countries.
Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing & Operations Director at Stanton Chase too believes that Saudi, UAE and Oman are the countries to watch out for this year.
“KSA, due to its size, growth and needs, definitely generates more new positions than other GCC countries. UAE is still strong, especially Dubai, while also Oman and Doha have an interesting growth over the past period,” she said.
On the other end of the spectrum, most analysts are pessimistic on Bahrain.
This Gulf nation is expected to see the least number of jobs being created in 2012.
The Stanton Chase expert says, “Bahrain is possibly the one with the lowest rate of creation of new positions at the moment.”
Agrees Simpson: “Sadly, one of the region's historically most advanced and liberal economies, Bahrain, will continue to feel the brunt of political turbulence and its sphere of economic influence may decline in the short term. However, with its inherently strong business culture, the fundamentals of a robust private sector remain strong.
"Though the Kuwaiti economy continues to post significant surpluses and the government does have an ambitious development plan in place, the cautionary pace of the realisation of that plan and the slow pace of economic diversification in general does not point to large jobs growth.”
The data of Gulf Talent too shows Bahrain down in the list. “Bahrain had almost no job creation in 2011 following severe political tensions in the country.”
However, the figures of Bayt.com put Bahrain on a better platform.
“According to our job index survey dated January 2012, the countries in which employers are looking to hire this year are Bahrain (72 per cent), Qatar and Oman (70 per cent each) and KSA (68 per cent). Tunisia and Morocco (59 per cent each) and Egypt (58 per cent) [will] hire least [number of people],” Suhail Masri, VP of Sales at Bayt.com.
Best GCC pay hikes in 2012
Employees in countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman are likely to see the best pay hikes among Gulf nations this year, according to an expert in the recruitment industry.
Shane Phillips, MENA Regional Practice Leader, Financial & Professional Services at Stanton Chase believes that these three countries will see employees taking home more in the New Year.
“Best pay increases will be in Saudi, Qatar and Oman. Oman is already about 20 per cent below average salaries in UAE, KSA and Qatar – so they are going to need to raise salaries if they want to hire qualified people. Lowest pay hikes will be in Bahrain and Kuwait as these two geographies will continue to struggle as they move forward,” he told Emirates 24|7.
According to experts at job portal bayt.com, Qatar ranks the highest in the GCC when it comes to salaries. “When it comes to average personal income, Qatar reports a higher average in the GCC, Lebanon in the Levant, and Morocco in North Africa,” said Amer Zureikat, VP Sales at Bayt.com.
However, there are some experts who opine that salary hikes will not be limited to one particular country or industry but will be more case and individual specific.
“There is not a tendency in region, country or sector for salary decreases. These will be connected mainly with the performance of a specific company and the specific person. Similarly, with the exception of the remuneration offered to nationals in the governmental sectors of specific countries, there are no expectations of massive increases in salaries. Increases will be connected again with the performance of the company and of the specific person,” Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing& Operations Director at Stanton Chase told this website.
Talking of most promising industries that are likely to hire, the bayt.com expert commented: “[Our] survey showed that across the region, the industries that are perceived to be attracting or retaining top talent are banking and finance (36 per cent), telecommunications (35 per cent), and construction (31 per cent). Commerce graduates or postgraduates are most likely to be hired, with 23 per cent of organisations across the MENA region favouring employing staff that are qualified in this field. Furthermore, graduates or postgraduates in business management and computer science are equally sought after by the region’s organisations.
“[On hiring perspective], 31 per cent of employees in the GCC believe that they will be hiring in a year’s time, as compared to 26 percent of employers in the Levant and North Africa.”