Hiring across GCC rising – but focus is on entry-level jobs

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 5 Oct 2016

The most in demand skills are languages, admin, and sales and marketing, says Bayt.com survey

The numbers of opportunities in entry-level private sector jobs across the GCC is rising, with organisations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE reporting the strongest intention of hiring new employees in the next three months.

A new Middle East Job survey, compiled by Bayt.com and YouGov, has revealed that 67 per cent of employers in the UAE and 65 per cent in KSA plan to start recruit in the coming months. However, the survey shows that the biggest areas of growth will be entry-level or mid-career with no managerial responsibilities.

Graham Boyle, managing director at Global Executive Consulting, says there is a slowdown in senior recruitment, but doesn’t see it necessarily as a problem. “The image of senior roles completely drying up is not real. Senior roles are still there, but I’d say about 80 per cent of them are not being advertised. That could account for the data in the surveys,” he said. “Employers are being a lot more cautious – there are many reasons for this, but the main reason is usually due to the financial burden it has on the organisation and the overheads that come along with high-level employees. I think we’ll see a pick-up in senior employment by the start of 2017.”

The most in-demand skills include administrative skills, languages, and sales and marketing. Conversely, despite most available jobs not being managerial, 38 per cent of organisations in the UAE said they were looking for candidates with managerial skills – suggesting that limited budget may be one reason for recruiting new employees at the lower end of the pay scale, and that businesses are trying to get more talent for their money.

Boyle also suggests organisations are filling senior roles internally. “It’s in their interests to do that because it promotes employee engagement and employees see there is an opportunity for them to climb the career ladder,” he said.

There are differences across the region in terms of where most senior roles are available. “The Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman are all doing pretty well right now compared to other countries in the region,” said Boyle. “Qatar has issues that make it a bit more volatile – it seems to be hot one month and cold the next. A lot of good candidates have picked that up.

“KSA is having a downturn in terms of the number of senior appointments, and that is because the country has not diversified enough away from oil and gas. They’ve not followed the lead of the UAE and branched off into other industries. Saudi is still completely reliant on the government and the big oil and gas companies, so they are getting hammered right now,” he added.

According to the survey, where roles are available they are in the banking and finance industry, hospitality, the recreation and entertainment sector and telecommunications. The most in-demand qualifications are degrees in business management and engineering.