By Andy Sambidge
HR giant Mercer also predicts salary rises of 5-6% in UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia
More than two third of GCC companies are expected to hire new staff next year, according to the results of a new survey by HR giant Mercer.
Its 2012 Total Remuneration Survey showed that more than 70 percent of surveyed organisations are anticipating growth within various departments as they look to accelerate recruitment in 2013.
The results from more than 500 firms also forecast a rise in salaries by five percent in the UAE, 5.6 percent in Qatar and six percent in Saudi Arabia during 2013.
Anticipated pay increases during this period are expected to remain above forecasted inflation rates of 1.7 percent in the UAE, four percent in Qatar, and 4.4 percent in Saudi Arabia, the survey said.
"Aggressive recruitment strategies are expected to be put in place, with 60 percent of companies surveyed looking to increase headcount by the end of the year, and 70 percent of firms aiming to do the same in 2013," the Mercer report added.
Zaid Kamhawi, Mercer's IPS business leader in the Middle East, said while the results represented good news for the Gulf's positioning relative to other parts of the world, companies are still cautious about the impact of regional and global events on local economic activity.
"Broadly, economic activity across the Gulf region has been solid in most areas but the social, political and economic transformation under way in some parts of the broader MENA region mean that business leaders are still exercising caution," he said.
He added that multinational firms, headquartered in Europe or the US and with Middle East operations, perceive the MENA region as a bright spot for investment and of their key growth regions.
"As a result of this, and as we tend to see in emerging markets, companies are competing to attract and retain valuable talent in the foreseeable future. The study shows, multinationals with a presence in the UAE are paying up to 13 percent more than local companies in terms of base salaries," he said.
The survey said efforts to attract and retain local nationals remain constant across the UAE and Saudi Arabia but are expected to rise in Qatar, with a 10 percent jump in the number of respondents reporting the implementation of active nationalisation policies within their firms.
Data from last year's Total Remuneration Survey showed that consumer and durable goods sectors led the way in salary increases, a trend set to continue in 2013, along with a similar rise within UAE-based technology firms.