Saudi tops in job creation in GCC
Dubai, April 9, 2012
The Gulf region continued to create jobs despite the impact of Arab Spring in 2011 with the regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia topping the list followed by Qatar and Oman, according to a new survey.
The oil and gas industry, healthcare and retail sectors enjoyed the largest headcount expansion in 2011, while banking and construction fared the worst, said the survey conducted by Dubai-based online recruitment firm, GulfTalent.com.
Saudi Arabia emerged out as the leader in job creation, thanks to its strong economic growth and massive government investment. Some 62 per cent of firms in the Kingdom increased their headcount compared to 55 per cent in 2010, said the 2012 edition of “Employment and Salary Trends in the Gulf” released today.
The next on the joblist was Oman, where 56 per cent of firms created new jobs, down one per cent compared to the previous year.
Qatar saw 51 per cent of employers creating new jobs, reflecting the continued strength of the economy. In Kuwait, the percentage of firms that created new jobs in 2011 more than doubled compared to the year before, rising by 26 per cent to reach 51 per cent.
Over the same period, the UAE also saw the number of companies creating new jobs jump by 15 per cent to reach 37 per cent.
The GulfTalent.com survey pointed out that Dubai’s share of regional recruitment activity had started to increase after a two-year slowdown, due to a combination of jobs growth and churn.
In Bahrain, however, severe political tensions continue to negatively impact the job market. According to GulfTalent.com, only 8 per cent of firms reported any new jobs being created last year, down from 23 per cent in 2010.
the survey said UAE and Qatar remained prime destinations for expatriates, with Saudi in third place.
The UAE strengthened its position as the most popular destination among Gulf-based expatriates, with Dubai overwhelmingly remaining the most attractive city, the survey added.
Qatar remained in second place in terms of popularity with expatriates. Hit by domestic unrest, Bahrain dropped from 4th place to become the Gulf’s least attractive destination for expatriates in 2011, behind Kuwait and Oman.
In an interesting observation, the study said more and more employers in the Gulf were now finding it easier to hire Western nationals, thanks to the high unemployment and low pays in their countries
However, many firms said they faced difficulty in attracting Westerners as many perceived the region to be unsafe, following widespread media coverage of the Arab Spring.
The survey pointed out that governments across the region were making the nationalisation a top priority and were embracing various schemes to do this.
More innovative approaches are now being tried in some Gulf countries, introducing elements of choice, competition and commercial incentive, it added.
On the salary scenario, the survey said in real salary increases (consisting of average pay rise net of inflation) the UAE and Bahrain topped the list. In real terms, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had the lowest salary increases.
GulfTalent.com said the average private sector salary hike remained stable across the Gulf region but much lower than pre-recession levels.
Oman saw the highest salary increase in 2011 (6.5 per cent) prompted in part by widespread strikes by Omani nationals and a pay hike awarded by the government to public sector employees.
Saudi and Qatar saw increases of 6 and 5.6 per cent respectively on the back of strong economic developments. The UAE experienced an average increase of 4.9 per cent, while Bahrain had the region’s lowest salary rise of only 4.5 per cent, the survey added.
According to the survey, Gulf employers were expecting similar salary increases to last year, with Qatar leading the way.
Among job categories, human resource professionals enjoyed the highest pay rise, while administration and marketing were the lowest. Among sectors, healthcare and retail offered the highest salary hikes, while real estate had the lowest, it added.-TradeArabia News Service