GCC job prospects forecast to improve in 2018

Hays report shows that 71% of employers plan to take on additional staff this year
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Tue 09 Jan 2018 01:19 PM

Employment prospects in the GCC are expected to improve in 2018 despite strong polarization in hiring activity, according to Hays 2018 GCC Salary and Employment Report.

The report – which is based on a survey of 4,250 working professionals across the GCC – found that 40 percent of employers increased the number of employees within their organisation in 2017, compared to 39 percent in 2016. Approximately a third of organisations, however, noted that they reduced the size of their workforces in 2016 and 2017.

“The findings are certainly indicative of what we have been seeing in the GCC employment market,” said Chris Greaves, managing director of Hays Gulf region.

“On the one hand, the continued diversification of the local economy, away from its reliance on the oil and gas sector and the increasingly globalised nature of the market have brought many opportunities to businesses in the region who are actively hiring additional staff in order to capitalise on these,” he added. “On the other hand however, the sustained low energy prices and increasing competition faced by organisations operating in all sectors, have resulted in employers taking a cautious approach to recruitment.”

Greaves noted that Hays has noticed that many businesses are being more selective in their hiring, with increasingly more rigorous and prolonged application processes that ensure that companies only commit to the costs of hiring after identifying the most qualified candidates.

The report also found that 71 percent of respondents planned to increase headcounts in 2018, with 66 percent predicting increased market activity for their business year-on-year.”

“While we do not expect the number of available jobs to reach those peaks seen in the more buoyant conditions of 2015, we do expect hiring activity to increase compared to the past year,” Greaves noted.

Greaves added that much of the recruitment activity will be for executives and sales professionals, as companies that have previously downscaled seek to hire C-level turnaround specialists and an increasing volume of business ventures look for new sales professionals.

“Beyond these, we also believe there to be an increasing number of roles available within the IT industry, thanks to a growing focus on e-commerce and digitalisation of businesses across all sectors, and construction and property industries in response to the growing number of affordable housing projects set to take place within UAE and Saudi Arabia,” he added. ““Regionally of course, the introduction of VAT will also drive new opportunities for tax implementation specialists and there will be growing interest and investment in the job market in the build up to Expo 2020.”

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