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Good news for HR in the Middle East?

Posted on from Advantage Resourcing

Alex Raubitschek discusses the Middle Eastern recruitment market – what are the areas of growth and which HR skills are in demand?

Job rates rise in the Gulf

UAE companies including multinationals and leading local companies continue to plan and improve their recruitment strategies. Dubai's economy has been showing signs of improvement over the past year, with tourism, retail and services sectors leading the way.

With Dubai Inc. working its way through its massive debt pile, investors and businesses are gaining in confidence too. Oil & gas, healthcare and retail sectors are enjoying the largest headcount expansion, while banking and construction continues to lag behind.

Hiring levels continue to rise in the Gulf region, despite the impact of 2011’s Arab Spring. In fact, the Arab Spring facilitated the move of executives from the affected region to the UAE. Many people, for example, transferred their property from these countries to the UAE.

Increased activity in Qatar

Across the GCC Saudi, Qatar and Oman appear to be the leading job creators. Qatar's tourism industry is witnessing consistent growth as a result of new hotel and resort development and more visitors from the GCC visiting.

Qatar is set to spend up to $150bn on infrastructure projects over the next 5-6 years as it starts preparing for the 2022 World Cup.

Bahrain’s job market has however been severely impacted due to the intense political tensions.

Opportunities for Western workers

Employers in the Gulf are finding it easier to hire Western nationals rather than Asian candidates. This is likely to be a result of Western countries facing high unemployment and low pay rises. It’s not a perfect situation, as some employers still face difficulty in attracting Western candidates as they perceive the region to be unsafe due to the Arab Spring media coverage.

Governments across the region are also making the nationalization of expatriate jobs a top priority. Innovative components for the region such as commercial incentive, competition and choice are being proactively positioned.

HR reaping the rewards?

Across the GCC private sector, salary increases have remained stable but much lower than pre-recession levels, with Oman leading the way. There’s certainly a growing trend to pay a premium for top talent executives.

HR professionals have generally seen the highest pay rises, whereas marketing and business support are reducing. HR business partner, training, learning and development, talent acquisition and talent management professionals remain much in demand.

Multinational, multilingual specialist recruiters are always in demand; however there will always be opportunity for non-Arabic speakers.

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