By Andy Sambidge
New GulfTalent survey says Oman will see highest salary increases this year while Saudi will lead job creation
2014 will be a year of stronger employment growth and higher salary rises in the Gulf region, according to a survey by GulfTalent.
Across most of the GCC, private sector salaries are forecast to rise at a faster pace with staff in Oman expected to see an average pay increase of 8 percent, the highest in the region.
Saudi Arabia has the second highest rate with a projected average increase of 6.8 percent, followed by Qatar at 6.7 percent and the UAE at 5.9 percent.
Kuwait and Bahrain are forecast to have the region’s lowest salary increases - projected at 5.8 percent and 3.9 percent respectively.
GulfTalent said that while the salary increases are higher than the previous year, they continue to be below the levels seen before the crisis.
The 2014 Employment and Salary Trends in the Gulf report also showed that Saudi Arabia was the leader in job creation in 2013, with 62 percent of companies increasing their headcount last year. The Gulf kingdom was followed by the UAE and Kuwait.
Broken down into sectors, healthcare topped the table with 80 percent of companies having created jobs in 2013, driven by heavy government investment in the sector and more countries making health insurance mandatory for employers.
According to the survey, telecom and retail sectors competed for second position.
GulfTalent’s survey also found that across the GCC, more companies expect to increase their headcount in 2014 compared to last year.
Seventy-five percent of companies in Qatar said they will create jobs this year, partly in preparation for the 2022 World Cup.
In Saudi Arabia and the UAE, 63 percent and 57 percent of companies respectively said they are looking to create jobs this year.
Even companies in Bahrain are showing signs of improvement in job creation as the political situation stabilises further with 30 percent of companies expecting to increase their headcount, compared to only 9 percent in 2013.
According to GulfTalent’s report, the UAE further strengthened its position as the prime destination for expatriates in the GCC.
Optimism about the country’s future has increased following Dubai’s economic recovery and successful bid for hosting the 2020 Expo.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi were named the region’s most attractive cities, followed by Qatar’s capital, Doha. Bahrain, on the other hand, remained the least attractive destination for expatriates.
GulfTalent’s report was based on an online survey of 800 employers and 34,000 professionals.