GCC realty firms are hiring again

Gulf executives earn much more than European peers

Real estate companies across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are continuing to hire with salaries remaining very competitive at all career levels, recruitment consultants say.

They believe the long-term outlook for recruitment in the sector remains “positive.”

Ben Waddilove, Director, Macdonald & Company, told Emirates 24|7: “We have witnessed continued hiring from real estate companies particularly in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and especially from government-related institutions working on affordable housing and infrastructure projects. The longer-term outlook for recruitment is positive as regime changes in the wider Arab world unfold and oil price remains high providing budget surpluses for GCC countries.”

Lama Ataya, Chief Marketing Officer at Bayt.com, says they too are witnessing an uptick in recruitment in all sectors in the UAE from last year, including the real estate sector, which saw some massive retrenchment, but is gradually reverting to signs of recovery and economic life.

Macdonald is currently working on various positions ranging from mid to senior management level and include a variety of disciplines such as project management, asset management, corporate real estate, valuations, facilities management, property fund accounting and hospitality development.
 
According to Bayt.com HR surveys and polls, most of the recruitment is taking place at the junior to mid levels in the UAE. Its Middle East Job Index Survey, April 2011, revealed that 35 per cent of organisations in the Mena region are looking to hire candidates in the next three months at a junior executive level, 28 per cent are looking for executives, 27 per cent for senior executives, while only five per cent are looking to hire a president, a senior vice president or a vice president.
 
Asked if the compensation packages in senior, mid and junior levels lower than before, Waddilove says: “Salary levels are currently stable. In our last annual Middle East salary survey, we found that the average real estate salary across all disciplines at all levels was Dh38,351 per month. This was broadly in line with the previous year. The current employment market is fairly balanced. We also conducted an International Salary Survey Comparison, which cited Middle East salaries as being around 30-40 per cent higher than in the UK and Europe.”

Ataya mentions that demand and supply dynamics in today's UAE job market have translated into equilibrium salary scales that are not as volatile or as inflated, as levels seen few years ago at the peak of the local property boom.

“The abundance of top talent displaced from this industry after the peak years in the UAE have ensured that salaries are very competitive at all career levels and that new jobs are going to professionals with top credentials and relevant skills.”

Asked if real estate companies were re-hiring employees made redundant few years back, Waddilove emphasizes that most candidates who were made redundant in 2009 and early 2010 have since found work or repatriated so their clients are certainly now looking globally for new talent although Middle East experience is still very much sought after.

There has been an abundance of highly skilled talent displaced from the UAE real estate sector since the peak years, Ataya says, informing that since these professionals have relevant skills, know-how, local expertise and contacts a good number of them have been able to recently with the slowly improved health of this sector find new positions with companies that have emerged less scathed than others.

“With the abundance of mid- and managerial- and junior-level talent with skills and/or interests in this segment on prolific leading job sites with deep sectoral and local inroads such as bayt.com, we have not seen a return to the practice of aggressively poaching talent from rival firms as was prevalent during the peak years when local talent was more scarce than now and the momentum in the sector was relatively heightened and frantic,” she adds.

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