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Sun 12 Jul 2009 11:13 AM

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GCC sees slump in recruitment amid global slowdown

New report says investment sector one of worst hit by downturn - GulfTalent.com.

The economic downturn has slowed recruitment activity in the GCC region significantly, with Dubai in particular seeing a fall in the number of vacancies advertised, according to a new report published on Sunday.

The GulfTalent.com research showed that the percentage of Dubai-based vacancies advertised on the firm's website constituted only 30 percent of all GCC-based positions advertised in the first half of the year, compared with 43 percent over the same period in the previous year. Kuwait and Bahrain have also been badly hit.

In contrast, Abu Dhabi has seen its percentage share of job vacancies increase from 14-23 percent, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia have also seen similar increases in their share of vacancies.

The UAE overall has seen an increase in the outflow of expats, with 26 percent of all job applications submitted by UAE residents targeting vacancies in other Gulf countries, compared to just 16 percent the previous year.

Across the region, the fall in recruitment demand has been most acute in investment, administration and marketing functions, according to GulfTalent.com's findings.

Demand for investment professionals, including private equity and portfolio management, fell by 48 percent in the first half of the year against the same period last year.

For administration skills, demand fell by 47 percent while the demand for marketing skills slid by 46 percent.

But not all roles are suffering from a collapse in demand as demand for infrastructure-related functions soared by 142 percent, reflecting massive spending by GCC governments this year on road, railway and airport projects. Demand for audit professionals also increased by 25 percent.

The survey also showed recruitment activity was being increasingly focused on mid level and senior professionals, with less experienced candidates receiving less attention.

The research also revealed that the value of expatriate salaries in the Gulf region has increased sharply in terms of their home currencies.

Depending on the country of origin, the appreciation of dollar-pegged regional currencies over the past 12 months has been equivalent to an effective pay rise of between 10 and 20 percent.

The currency appreciation, coupled with low inflation, rising unemployment worldwide and reduced regional competition for talent, has eliminated any upward pressure on salaries, the findings showed, suggesting that salaries will likely see little rise over the next 6-12 months.

GulfTalent.com's research study was based primarily on an analysis of jobseeker and employer activities conducted on its online recruitment website, including a daily average of around 2,000 new candidate registrations, 10,000 job applications and 3,000 CV searches by employers and recruitment agencies using the website.

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