66% of UAE employers to hire next quarter

Candidates of different nationalities apply for various job vacancies in Dubai. (FILE)

Bayt.com reported that 68 per cent of organisations in Mena region expect to recruit over the next 12 months. The new Middle East Job Index Survey, conducted by Bayt.com in conjunction with YouGov Siraj, revealed an overall 28 per cent of the region’s respondents said they would hire within the next 3 months. In the UAE 32 per cent, an increase of 5 per cent from the last wave, said their organisations would “definitely” be hiring, and another 24 per cent said they would “probably” be hiring. Only 5 per cent said they would definitely not be hiring in the next quarter.

The Middle East Job Index Survey showed that the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are regarded as the most attractive job markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Qatar has the highest propensity to hire with 41 per cent saying that their organisations will definitely be recruiting new staff in the coming months.

Perhaps the biggest shift in the recruitment market is in Oman - in January 2011’s Middle East Job Index Survey, the country was rated as one of the lowest in job propensity but now rates second as 37 per cent of respondents claim to be hiring in the next quarter. Saudi Arabia follows with 35 per cent saying that their organisations will definitely be recruiting new staff within the next three months. Just 23 per cent of employers in Egypt expect to recruit in the next quarter. However, the study indicates next year could hold greater promise, while Morocco showed the lowest propensity with just 20 per cent of respondents saying they will definitely hire in the next three months.

The Jobs Index (JI) is conducted to gauge perceptions of job availability and hiring, to identify job trends and to provide an understanding of the key skill sets and qualifications required in the Middle East job market.

“The Job Index survey presents job seekers and recruiters with in-depth, industry specific data on a quarterly basis. As we have recorded from January 2011 to April 2011 there have been several note worthy changes, Oman’s jump from one of the lowest in providing job opportunities last quarter to a healthy 37 per cent expectancy over the next few months is one of them”, noted Amer Zureikat, Vice-President Sales, Bayt.com.

Business graduates in demand

The survey asked the respondents how many positions their organisations will be aiming to fill in the next three months. For the most part, organisations are looking to recruit staff for less than five positions according to 44 per cent and a further 24 per cent indicated between 6 to 10 jobs.

Compared to small or public organisations, the private sector comprised of large local businesses is more likely to hire as 34 per cent said they will in the next few months. Furthermore, the trend continues from the past wave as 25 per cent of employers in the Middle East favor graduates and postgraduates in business management to fill positions such as Junior Executives (35 per cent) and Executives (28 per cent). Graduates or postgraduates with commerce and administration qualifications are equally sought after by the region’s organisations, with 24 per cent and 23 per cent of respondents citing personnel in these fields as highly desirable.

“We’ve found that the demand for junior level candidates from the business and finance sector is the highest in Middle East job market. However this quarter, we also recorded some momentum in the senior-level recruitment that could signify job availability in the senior positions. This is definitely a figure we will be looking out for in the next quarter study”, said Sundip Chahal, Chief Operating Officer, YouGov Siraj.

Communication skills

According to the study, good communication skills in Arabic and English is favoured by employers - 64 per cent indicated as the most desirable trait in candidates. 51 per cent of region’s organisations agree that being cooperative, helpful, flexible and performing as a team player are key skills. Overall personality is also an important trait according to 46 per cent. In terms of experience, 39 per cent of employers expect candidates to have excellent managerial skills and the ability to manage a team. In addition, 33 per cent cited computer skills as important.

“Although recruiters rated good managerial and computer skills, as well as marketing and sales experience as some of the prerequisites for ideal candidates, only 23 per cent of organisations are looking for mid level experience. The findings demonstrate that the prospects for first entry job seekers is reassuringly bright”, commented Zureikat.

The JI is in part gauged by asking the respondents what their hiring expectancy is in a year’s time; this forms the Hiring Expectancy Index (HEI). Over the next 12 months 68 per cent of the regions organisations expect to hire, an increase of 2 per cent over the last wave, suggesting positive growth in the future. Saudi Arabia showed the highest propensity to hire  over the next 12 months as per 40 per cent of votes. Positive news for job seekers in Qatar as the country’s organisations indicate a greater likelihood of hiring in the next year (37 per cent).

Measured as one of the most attractive job markets in the region, 27 per cent of the surveyed UAE employers said they would “definitely” hire in the next 12 months, while another 40 per cent said that they would “probably” be hiring.

The study has found several optimistic numbers from the HEI, in comparison to last quarter; Oman for example with 46 per cent looking to hire within the next 12 months – an indication of the growth within the entire region. Respondents were also asked which industries they feel are attracting or retaining top talent in their country of residence - banking and finance sector leads with 39%. Other top 3 sectors that are likely to attract or retain the top talent include telecommunications (37 per cent), construction (31 per cent) and tourism (27 per cent) When asked to rate their current country of residence as a job market compared to other Middle East countries, residents of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were the most positive – 47 per cent in each of the three countries agreed that their country was much more attractive.  Only 12 per cent in Jordan said their country was much more attractive.

Data for the Bayt.com Middle East Job Index- April 2011 was collected online between 30th March 2011 to 17th April 2011, with 4653 executive managers/HR managers/senior officials from the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Pakistan.

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