A biannual survey on job opportunities over the near term in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region reveals that nearly three-quarters (73%) of employers in the area are planning to hire new employees over the next 12 months.

With the latest epidemiological figures on the COVID-19 health situation indicating a steady decline in the number of infections, hospitalizations and fatalities from the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants, there is increasing optimism that the worst of the health crisis may be over. This buoyancy in sentiment is reflected in the recent Job Index Survey carried out by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s leading job site, and YouGov, the global online market research company.

The survey, carried out between December 2021 to 10 January 2022 in the six nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) bloc, as well as countries in north Africa and the Levant reveals job availability, hiring trends, and required skill sets and qualifications that employers are looking for from potential employees, over the next three months, as well as for the rest of 2022.

Findings from the survey include that most GCC employers are demanding good communication in English and Arabic (67%), followed by being a team player (45%), ability to work under pressure (43%) and good leadership skills (41%) as top skills for their hires.
The top roles for which employers are looking to hire over the short term are Accountant (17%), Mechanical Engineer (16%), Sales Executive (15%) and Sales Manager (15%). In terms of experience required, 35 percent of respondents state that they are looking for candidates with sales and marketing experience, while 34 percent are searching for those with managerial experience and 28 percent want candidates with mid-level experience. In addition, Engineering (30%), Business Management (29%) and Commerce (21%) are the most sought-after academic qualifications amongst GCC employers.

Other findings from the survey include that the top industries looking to hire new employees in the next three months are Human Resources (68%), Hospitality/ Recreation/ Entertainment (67%) and Banking/ Finance (65%). The outlook looks positive for job seekers in the near future as well. Hospitality/ Recreation/ Entertainment (79%) emerges as the top industry looking to hire in the next one year. This is followed by Business Consultancy/ Business Management/ Management Consulting (78%) and Manufacturing (75%).

Speaking about the survey, Director of Human Resources at Bayt.com,Ola Haddad, said: “The Middle East Job Index survey demonstrates that demand for professionals continues to grow in the MENA region. A fast and effective talent acquisition program, being clear about what the organization stands for, its culture and flexible working conditions are the deciding factors in winning talent during this period of growth.

The survey also found that in the short term, Advertising/ Marketing/ Public Relations (31%), IT/ Internet/ E-commerce (30%), and Real Estate/ Construction/ Property Development (30%) emerge as the industries that attract or retain top talent in the GCC region.
Zafar Shah, Research Director at YouGov said: “The future is bright for job seekers as the MENA starts to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Thanks to robust vaccine programs and people returning to the office, hiring trends reflect an encouraging recovery as this year’s first Job Index tracks, follows and communicates required skill sets.”

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