Latest statistics have shown that low oil prices have slightly weakened the overall hiring activity in the UAE, but companies are expected to expand their headcount in the next few months.
GulfTalent, which recently conducted a survey among 600 employers and 22,000 professionals, said this week that most companies in the region are expected to expand their payrolls this year.
A significant increase in hiring will be noted in healthcare, as 79 percent of the companies in the sector are planning to hire additional employees in 2015.
Among the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, Qatar is forecast to top the recruitment activity in the next few months, with 66 percent of the employers in the country reporting plans to hire more staff.
Qatar companies’ appetite for expansion is mainly due to the launch of new infrastructure projects. The country is also no longer facing uncertainty over the timing of the World Cup since the organisers have already announced the schedule of the winter tournament.
“With the uncertainty over the World Cup finally removed and major infrastructure projects getting the go-ahead [the majority of companies in Qatar] reported plans to increase headcount,” GulfTalent said
A number of job openings are also expected in Saudi Arabia, with more than half (53 percent) of employers planning to hire more people. Oman is third on the list, with nearly half (49 percent) of the organisations reporting plans to recruit additional talent. In UAE, 47 percent of the companies said they intend to hire, while 38 percent of employers in Kuwait and Bahrain confirmed they will recruit new talent.
The in-depth research also revealed some key findings about the factors affecting hiring in the GCC:
• The Saudisation drive continues under the Nitaqat system, with employers receiving benefits and penalties based on the Saudistion level achieved in their workforce
• Return of foreign-educated Saudis to the Kingdom is providing a fresh pool of talent
• A new online system, Abshir, has radically simplified visa application and processing
• Visa restrictions on nationals from war-torn countries have made it difficult to source talent from these countries
• Mandatory health insurance is forcing all firms to extend this benefit to employees
• Increasing cost of living, particularly housing, a growing concern for residents and their employers
• Construction sector is expanding, with many government infrastructure projects finally starting in preparation for the World Cup
• Under pressure from international media, the government has increased enforcement of employee rights, and has launched a Wage Protection System, similar to the UAE
• Rise in real estate prices a growing concern
• Huge pressure on employers to hire nationals, including at senior level
• Growing trade union activity forcing employers to offer higher salaries
• Significant cuts in government spending, particularly on oil-related projects
• New restrictions on expats, such as limits on switching jobs, is leading to an exodus of expats to the rest of the Gulf
• Increasing cost of living is making it difficult for employees to manage expenses.
• The government has cut its budget in response to falling oil prices, likely to lead to some slowdown in the economy
• Visa restrictions on certain nationalities are pushing employers to explore alternative sources of talent
• Stringent implementation of nationalisation policy with penalties for non-compliant employers
• Cuts in government spending due to the slump in oil revenues
• Minimum wage introduced for Bahrainis in private sector, subsidised by the government