Saudi Arabia Tops the “Job Creation” List in GCC

The Gulf region continued to create jobs despite the impact of Arab Spring in 2011, with Saudi Arabia topping the list followed by Qatar and Oman, as GulfTalent.com said in its 2012 edition of “Employment and Salary Trends in the Gulf”

Around 62 % of firms in the Kingdom increased their headcount last year compared to 55 % the previous year, while just eight % of companies in neighboring Bahrain created new jobs, compared to 23 % in 2010, the online recruitment agency said.

Just over half (56 %) of companies in Oman hired new staff in 2011, down one % on the previous year. Qatar saw 51 % of employers creating new jobs, reflecting the continued strength of the economy.

In Kuwait, the %age of firms that created new jobs in 2011 more than doubled compared to the year before, rising by 26 % to reach 51 %.
The UAE and Qatar remain the most popular Gulf States for expatriate workers while the oil and gas, healthcare and retail sectors saw the largest headcount expansion last year, while banking and construction fared the worst, said the survey conducted by Dubai-based GulfTalent.com.

Over the same period, the UAE also saw the number of companies creating new jobs jump by 15 per cent to reach 37 %.

The survey noted 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. The survey said only 8 % of firms reported any new jobs being created last year, down from 23 % in 2010.

Moreover, the survey said 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, as Saudi Gazette stated.

Qatar remained in second place in terms of popularity with expatriates, and Saudi Arabia in third place. 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.

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.

The survey pointed out that governments across the region were making the nationalization 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 %) 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 % respectively on the back of strong economic developments. The UAE experienced an average increase of 4.9 %, while Bahrain had the region’s lowest salary rise of only 4.5 %, it added.

Gulf employers were expecting similar salary increases to last year, with Qatar leading the way, the survey further said. 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.

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