More than half of UAE’s employers are planning to recruit in next quarter

New research by and YouGov Siraj

Overwhelming 67% of organisations in the MENA region likely to hire in a year’s time.

More than half of the region’s employers, 54%, plan to recruit over the next few months, according to the new Jobs Index study conducted by the region’s number one job site, in conjunction with research specialists YouGov Siraj. In the UAE, just over a quarter of the respondents -29%- said that their organisations would definitely be hiring in the next three months, and another 25% said they would probably be hiring. By contrast, 9% said they would definitely not be hiring in the next quarter.

Across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the countries recorded varying propensities to hire as part of the Jobs Index. Respondents in Oman had the highest propensity to hire, with 41% saying that their organisations will “definitely” be recruiting new staff in the coming months while Jordan showed the lowest propensity to hire with 18% of respondents saying they will “definitely” hire in the next three months.

The Jobs Index (JI) is conducted to gauge perceptions of job availability and hiring, to identify job trends and to provide an understanding of the key skill sets and qualifications required in the Middle East job market.

The survey asked the respondents how many positions their organisations would be aiming to fill in the next three months. For the most part, organisations are looking to recruit staff for less than five positions: 46% said that less than five jobs will be available, and 22% said that between six and 10 jobs will be available. Interestingly, 2% of respondents said that they will be looking to fill more than one hundred vacancies in the coming quarter.

“The adverse effects of the global recession on hiring practices in the Middle East region seem to be easing. While some regional companies appear to be maintaining their human resources budgets at relatively low levels in a bid to save money, this climate of cost-consciousness and emphasis on maximizing returns on investment in the HR arena has been seen to favor leading online jobsites such as where employers are cognizant they can find the region’s top talent for key positions in the fastest, easiest, most effective and most cost-efficient manner”, noted Rabea Ataya, Chief Executive Officer,

Asked at what level they are looking to recruit in the coming three months, the survey found that junior executives are the most likely to find themselves with a job offer: 34% of organisations said that they would be looking to employ junior executives, followed by 27% that said they would be looking to hire on an executive level. As in the previous wave, and unsurprisingly given the level of experience and knowledge required, limited C-suite jobs are going to be on offer: 4% of the respondents said they would be seeking to appoint a new president, 5% said they plan to appoint a CEO, and another 6% said they would advertise vacancies for a COO, CFO or CMO.

Of those that are likely to be employed, graduates or postgraduates in business management stand the best chance. According to the study, 26% of organisations around the Middle East favour employing staff that are qualified in this field. Furthermore, graduates or postgraduates in commerce, engineering and administration are equally sought after by the region’s organisations, with 24% of respondents citing personnel in these fields as highly desirable. Less attractive to organisations in the region were those with qualifications in psychology or social sciences, and in flight training: just 3% and 2% of organisations, respectively, agreed that these are important qualifications that new staff should possess.

“Clearly, the Middle East, and more specifically the Gulf, is growing as a global finance and commerce hub, and as such, graduates in these fields are likely to find it easier than others to find employment,” said Sundip Chahal, Chief Operating Officer, YouGov Siraj. “The figures also indicate what types of industries dominate in this region, and it is clearly those concerned with business and trade.”

Being able to communicate in both English and Arabic is a desirable trait that employers look for when selecting new staff according to the study – 53% of respondents agreed this is what they look for most in a potential new employee. Being a cooperative, flexible, and helpful team player is also a clear skill priority among the region’s organisations, with 49% agreeing it is the most desirable trait. Having good leadership skills was cited as the most desirable trait by 45% of the survey’s respondents.

“The figures suggest that when recruiting, employers will not immediately choose the most qualified candidate, rather, the region’s organisations place much more emphasis on key skills such as communication and teamwork, and personality traits such as being a good leader,” noted Sundip.

The JI is in part gauged by asking the respondents what their hiring expectancy is in a year’s time; this forms the Hiring Expectancy Index (HEI). In the long term, 67% of the region’s organisations expect to hire, suggesting widespread optimism for the future. Job seekers in Oman are likely to be the luckiest at finding work in a year’s time, with 45% of the country respondents stating they will “definitely” be hiring in 12 months’ time. In the UAE, 15% said they will probably or definitely not be hiring in a year’s time. By contrast, 30% of those surveyed in the UAE said they would definitely hire in a year.

Respondents in Algeria were also highly confident that their organisations will be hiring in the future: 37% said they will definitely be hiring after a year. This is contrasted with just 24% and 23% of respondents in Tunisia and Egypt – the lowest figure among all of the surveyed countries.

When asked how they rate their current country of residence as a job market compared to those around the rest of the region, respondents in KSA, followed by the UAE, were the most positive about their country: 46% and 44% respectively said it was much more attractive than other countries.

The respondents were also asked to name which industries they feel are attracting or retaining top talent in their country of residence today. As in the previous wave, the banking and finance (36%) and telecommunications (35%) sectors took the top spots in terms of those that attract the region’s top employees.

“The studies that conducts alongside YouGov Siraj aim to provide the region’s organisations and HR professionals with regularly updated research that sheds light on various elements of the Middle East and North Africa job market. The Jobs Index has been designed to chart how the region’s job market changes from quarter to quarter, which will allow the region’s employers and other industry stakeholders to benefit from up to date job market information, which can be used for affecting positive organisational change and planning for the future,” concluded Ataya.

Data for the July 2010 Jobs Index was collected online between 23 June and 18 July 2010, with 2,763 respondents from the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Pakistan. Males and females aged over 18 years old, of all nationalities, were included in the survey.

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